As we have started to emerge from lockdown, the activity now reflects the behaviours experienced pre-Covid, with the usual drink related issues starting to re-emerge.
For the first Friday that the pubs re-opened, it was quite sedate. There were not very many people going to the pubs. But by the second week, there were substantially more in terms of the volume of people who were out, particularly later on after 10pm.
And I think intoxication levels had an affect on social distancing to a degree.
I think from our perspective, the message has to be that people need to make sure they play their part in terms of the national effort to keep the spread of coronavirus down, and to have self awareness when they are out and about by practicing social distancing and following hygiene guidelines. Drinking alcohol does not reduce your vulnerability.
We have had to make arrests, although it has been lower numbers than we would have seen pre-lockdown. There have been arrests for people being drunk and disorderly, public disorder and assault.
Throughout the crisis, our role has changed. but we are continuing to take a stance of encouraging, supporting and educating people, and only if it is absolutely necessary do we take enforcement action.
In terms of the re-opening of the pubs, Doncaster Council and ourselves wrote to all the bars and pubs to explain the guidance and the expectations on the venues, and what enforcement action there would be if they fell below expectations. We have worked together.
Those who have been out will have seen council officers out on the street, supported by police who are there to enforce if needed.
We have been encouraged by how the bars have responded. We are trying to intervene early if they need support.
As yet we’ve not had to take any significant enforcement action.