Police warn pubs Super Saturday will be like 'a month of new year's eves' with violence and drunken disorder
POLICE have warned next weeks' Super Saturday of pubs reopening will be like "a month of new year's eve" with violence and drunken disorder.
After four months without drinking in pubs, senior officers have warned pubs should have been reopened on a weekday to minimise fights and crowds.
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Police have branded the July 4 Super Saturday a "perfect storm" of drunkenness as Brits head to the pub or the first time.
Police believe social distancing rules which mean many people won't be allowed in pubs will cause tensions to flare up if drinkers' are turned away at boozer doors.
Before the lockdown was brought in forcing pubs and bars to close, Brits ignored social distancing warnings and flocked to their local to have one last hoorah with friends.
People will have to follow strict rules on how the behave once they are inside pubs as well – including no dancing, no hanging out at the bar to order drinks, keeping raised voices down, and abiding by a "one-in-one-out" rule in toilets.
Chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation Steve Kent said reopening pubs on a Monday or midweek would have helped officers deal with what could be a "perfect storm" of drunk and disorderly behaviour.
He told The Independent: "If it's going to be on a Saturday and if the weather does turn out to be really hot, then it is going to unfortunately be a bit of a perfect storm.
“It’s likely that there are going to be, unfortunately, some occasions of disorder."
Mr Kent added: “I think we’re going to have a couple of weeks of New Year’s Eves.”
The chair of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers have warned reopening all pubs at the same time, on what is predicted to be a sunny Saturday, will pile pressure on police, paramedics and the NHS.
Chair of the Federation John Apter said: “We all accept that the economy must get moving after such a long period of lockdown.
“However, the announcement of this easing of lockdown has been done in such a way that a head of steam will be gathering between now and the 4th July, which could be seen by some as a countdown to party time, which is not accurate and certainly not the message we want to send.
What are the new social distancing rules for pubs?
One metre plus
Patrons will have to be two metres away where possible or one metre with extra precautions in place such as having tables back to back and not side by side.
No ordering at the bar
The days of crowding around bars waiting to order are over in a "new normal" of pub visits.
Venues and being encouraged to be table-service only, and have guests order drinks and food through an app where possible.
Pubs have been told to take steps to stop "communal dancing" because of the risk of transmitting the virus.
This means not playing loud music to discourage patrons from dancing.
Leave your name at the door
Businesses should help the NHS Test and Trace system by keeping a registry of patrons' contact details for at least 21 days in case of an outbreak.
If there is an outbreak, it will allow contact tracers to easily find out who was in a pub or restaurant at a particular time.
No live entertainment or broadcasts
Pubs have been told they won't be able to have live enterntainment or broadcasts such as sports matches – they also won't be able to hold pub quizzes.
This is because it risks encouraging people to interact with more households, and increases the risk of yelling – which can cause coronavirus to spread further via spit droplets.
No more ketchup botles on tables
Venues are being encouraged to use disposable condiment packets where possible to limit the spread of germs via surfaces.
Otherwise bottles need to be cleaned thoroughly after each use.
“There are worries about alcohol consumption leading to drunken and irresponsible behaviour, and there’s also the concern that people who can’t get into pubs because of restrictions that are still in place may cause conflict.
“This will, without doubt, add more pressure on policing, paramedics and the wider NHS.
“I know that there is a lot of frustration out there and business need to start making money, but public safety must be paramount and pressure on public services must be considered.
Mr Apter added: "The public have shown support for their key workers during lockdown; they can continue to give support by behaving sensibly now that the restrictions are easing.”
The President of the Police Superintendents' Association told The Independent a "soft launch" on a Monday or a weekday would have been easier for officers to deal with.
Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths said: "“There is a risk on a weekend day, particularly if the weather is good, that there could be some challenges ahead for policing but the reality is we will deal with the demand.
“As a service we will gear ourselves accordingly and in areas where we think tensions might play out we’ll have a presence.”
Superintendent Griffiths flagged concerns that newly-introduced social distancing rules could cause disputes between staff trying to ensure patrons' stay a safe distance from one another.
Pub owners are concerned about the responsibility placed on their shoulders to ensure people follow the guidelines such as only going indoors with one other household.
Chief exec of the Shepherd Neame chain of pubs Jonathan Neame told The Times he expected practical difficulties reminding customers of the rules.
He said: “I don’t think the licensee will be able to ask where customers live or double check they are from the same household.
“That would be taking licence responsibility to a level that is unknown.
"People will just have to use their judgment and there will have to be a degree of tolerance.”
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