Police in 'stick to the rules' plea as Shropshire pub punters pile into beer gardens

Police in Shropshire will be ramping up patrols over the first weekend since lockdown restrictions were eased.

Officers will be out in towns throughout the region to make sure revellers stick to the rules now that pubs with outdoor facilities and shops have reopened in England.

New coronavirus guidance means up to six people, or two households, can meet outside at a pub for a drink, however, social distancing is still a requirement.

Table service will be in place and masks must also be worn when indoors.

Customers have been piling into beer gardens in the sunshine across the region to have a pint and see friends for the first time this year.

Chief Inspector Jessica Loxley-Clark, of West Mercia Police, said: “As you’d expect many people have been out and about enjoying themselves at pubs and other outdoor attractions since the further lifting of restrictions.

“We have been conducting high-visibility patrols where there has been increased footfall, to provide both reassurance and advice to our communities, and officers will continue to follow the 'Four Es' approach of Engage, Explain, Encourage and, where necessary, Enforcement.

Advice

“While it’s encouraging to be further along the roadmap out of lockdown, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and we are not out the woods yet, so it’s important everyone continues to abide by the regulations and follows the Public Health England advice of hands, face, space, fresh air.”

In Wales, outdoor hospitality for pubs, cafes and restaurants will reopen on April 26.

Dyfed-Powys Police said: "With the arrival of nicer weather and days drawing out, coupled with infection rates falling, there is understandably more optimism among communities.

"We know how difficult it has been, we have lived through this pandemic with you, so we understand why people are keen to return to some form of normality as soon as possible. We’re making positive progress, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

"If you’re heading out this weekend, make yourself aware of the restrictions that remain in place, and always have a Plan B. If you arrive at your Plan A and feel the area is too busy, look to your second option.

"Be flexible with your plans, in line with what is allowed, and safely enjoy this time that we’ve all been looking forward to. None of us want to move backwards now.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the nation to "behave responsibly" as pub gardens reopen and restaurants resume outdoor dining in England.

Meanwhile some councils advised residents to "vote with their feet" and avoid shops, restaurants and public houses which are not following Covid guidance to maintain the progress made so far during lockdown.

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