Police chiefs have warned that there are ‘not enough’ officers to cope with potential carnage on July 4 as thousands of stir-crazy Britons are expected to rush to pubs on ‘Super Saturday’.
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation in England and Wales, said Boris Johnson’s decision to reopen pubs on a Saturday has created a ‘countdown to carnival’.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One Programme, he said police would be left to ‘pick up the pieces’ as pubs turn rowdy and warned that the Government had created a ‘perfect storm’.
Green MP Caroline Lucas joined the Police Federation in raising the alarm over the decision to ease lockdown restrictions on July 4, saying she thought police had been put in an ‘impossible position’.
‘I think this is really difficult for the police,’ Ms Lucas told the World At One Programme. ‘Something as simple as not announcing it on a Saturday with huge fanfare would have helped I think.’
Mr Apter’s intervention follows the Government’s announcing of plans this week to stir Britain out of ‘hibernation’ and restart the engines of UK plc after weeks of economic inactivity.
It also comes as police officers were hounded and injured last night after two parties in Brighton and Brixton, south London, spiralled out of control and descended into violence.
Mr Apter told the BBC’s World At One Programme: ‘My colleagues are doing their absolute best, there are not enough of us – I’ve said that for a number of years – and the challenges are increasing.
Police clash with crowds gathered at Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow today as a heatwave hits Scotland during the pandemic
Green MP Caroline Lucas joined the Police Federation in raising the alarm over the decision to ease lockdown restrictions on July 4, saying she thought police had been put in an ‘impossible position’ (pictured, on the Barbican in Plymouth today)
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation in England and Wales, said Boris Johnson’s easing of lockdown on a Saturday has created a ‘countdown to carnival’ (pictured, at the HQ in Leatherhead, Surrey)
Police chiefs have warned that there are ‘not enough’ officers to cope with potential carnage on July 4 as thousands of stir-crazy Britons are expected to rush to pubs on ‘Super Saturday’ (pictured, in Bournemouth today)
People enjoy drinks at Borough Market in London today as the UK experiences yet another day of heat and sunshine
‘They are going to get even more difficult on July 4 when the lockdown is eased even further and that’s a big concern to me and policing, and it should be for the NHS and wider because to ease the lockdown – which I completely understand, businesses have to survive and the economy must grow and I accept that – but to announce this easing of lockdown on a Saturday has created almost a countdown to carnival.
‘I am deeply concerned we are going to see real big problems on that day when people are trying to get into pubs and bars and restaurants, drinking – alcohol causes an awful lot of problems for us to have to try and pick up the pieces. This is on top of the frustration that people are feeling.’
He added: ‘It is a perfect storm but not in a good way, I have to say.’
Last night, 22 officers were injured as police tried to break up a street party in Brixton which turned violent as fighting broke out between hundreds of revellers – before they turned on the officers.
Shocking videos posted to social media show rioters screaming ‘run them out’ as outnumbered police fled, while today Sadiq Khan and Cressida Dick were criticised for ‘losing control of the streets’.
Police had to break up a huge Brighton seafront party yesterday, sending hundreds of youngsters home after scuffles broke out. Ten police vehicles were called to Hove Lawns amid reports of ‘pockets’ of violence. The youths chanted at the officers, with eyewitnesses calling it ‘a stand-off between hundreds of youths and police’.
Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow many more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. Pictured, people sit outside a pub that sells takeaway drinks in London
Boris Johnson has announced the reopening of pubs on July 4, dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ (pictured, at Wandsworth Common)
Bars have opened in Kings Cross offering outdoor seating. The tables are arranged to comply with the Government’s rules
A waitress in PPE at a Greene King pub in Fort St George in Cambridge, as England adjusts to the new normal
Priti Patel has described the scenes last night as ‘utterly vile’ and said she will be picking it up with the Met Commissioner
Two men set about vandalising a police car after a huge street party in Brixton, south London erupted into violence last night
The ground in Brixton was littered with drinks bottles and small containers which have what is known as ‘hippy crack’ inside
The warnings of senior police chiefs of insufficient numbers of officers to cope with the mass reopening of UK pubs follows Government plans to reopen swathes of the hospitality sector.
Bars, pubs, restaurants, bingo halls and hairdressers are among venues that will be allowed to reopen on July 4, dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ – as long as they are ‘Covid secure’.
Social distancing measures will need to be put in place, including keeping people apart as well as introducing screens, visors and masks. Other venues, such as gyms, nail bars, tattoo parlours and nightclubs, will remain closed as they are considered too high risk to be allowed to reopen.
Pubs and Bars
Music must be turned down low, ketchup sachets will replace bottles, and pints should be ordered on your smartphone in pubs and restaurants in England, according to new guidance from the Government.
Not only will they welcome fewer people in order to ensure that customers are sat further apart, but the stereo, or football match on the TV, will also be turned down.
The guidance reads: ‘All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.’
This is because as people start shouting or speaking up they are more likely to launch the virus into the air and spread it to other customers.
Customers will have to supply their contact details on entry, which will be kept for 21 days so they can be tracked down if another customer is diagnosed with Covid-19.
Pubs and restaurants will also be asked to get their customers to order food directly to their tables using a smartphone app, where possible.
Businesses should threaten to call the police if customers flout social distancing: ‘Inform customers that police and the local authorities have the powers to enforce requirements in relation to social distancing and may instruct customers to disperse, leave an area, issue a fixed penalty notice or take further enforcement action’.
Phil Weaver, owner of The Old Smithy pub in Church Lawford, Warwickshire holds a pint of beer from behind a protective screen. Pubs will be allowed to reopen from July 4
Like pub-goers, restaurant diners will also have to follow several new rules as part of the ‘new normal’.
You’ll have to book before visiting the restaurant, with the need to follow distancing rules meaning capacity may be lower than usual. Contact details will be kept on file for three weeks to ensure people can be tracked down if there is an outbreak in the venue.
The guidance says tables should be rearranged so they are not facing directly at each other if there cannot be two metres between them.
Restaurants will also be installing screens, sanitisers and implementing one-way systems to manage customer queues and meet guidelines.
Customers from different households should also be seated side-by-side if two metre gaps can’t be maintained to reduce transmission risk.
The advice suggests some restaurants could introduce apps that allow customers to order remotely, while others will use disposable paper menus and ensure service is reduced to lower crowding in kitchens.
‘Indoor table service must be used where possible, alongside further measures such as assigning a single staff member per table,’ the guidance says.
‘Outdoor table service should also be encouraged, although customers are permitted to stand outside if distanced appropriately.
‘Where bar or counter service is unavoidable, preventing customers from remaining at the bar or counter after ordering.’
However, with the expected reduced capacity, some smaller firms may decide it isn’t financially viable for them to open at all.
Hairdressers and Barbers
Another long-awaited service, Britons will finally be able to get a haircut from July 4, with people all over the country having turned to relatives for dodgy snips during lockdown, with some even deciding to let it all grow for several months.
However, like pubs and restaurants, trips to the barber will be a far more complicated affair than they were pre-lockdown. Your barber must wear a full visor and gown while cutting your hair, with all equipment, including scissors and combs disinfected after every customer.
Unsurprisingly, this could lead to slower service but refreshments and magazines, usual features to enjoy while you wait, will also be banned. Britons have also been advised not to bring jewellery, handbags and jackets into salons as the virus can stay on fabrics and metal for several days.
Some salons may even require customers to wear facial coverings and payments must be contactless – with hairdressers encouraged to also ban tips. Another hurdle to overcome will be the huge demand for a haircut, with salons told to operate at 50 per cent of full capacity to avoid overcrowding.
This has led to some salons claiming huge backlogs of bookings from Britons eager to lose their lockdown fuzz.
And you can also forget about sharing your coronavirus frustrations with your barber, with hairdressers told to avoid small talk with clients.
Hair salons and barbers could reopen on June 15, one source has claimed. The Gatsby and Miller in Amersham is among the hairdressers that says it is ready welcome customers again
A trip to the movies is a popular pastime for Britons and, unsurprisingly, the return of the cinema is sure to be a popular decision.
However, sitting in a theatre, packed together with hundreds of other cinema-goers to watch the latest movie, could potentially be a hotbed for coronavirus spread.
To combat this, cinemas will be required to limit capacity and bookings. This will ensure that movie lovers can remain socially distanced, whether in the theatre or queuing up outside.
Another issue is that several productions, including the latest installment of James Bond, have been delayed amid the pandemic. To combat this, cinemas could offer a range of classic movies to whet the appetites of film lovers before the summer’s blockbusters are ready.
In a move more suited to some of the films it puts on, Showcase Cinemas said it had invested in an ‘anti-viral fogging machine that eliminates airborne viruses on contact’.
The machine will be used on every seat between showings.
Staycations are back on the agenda, with hotels, campsites and holiday cottages permitted as long as they comply with ‘Covid secure’ guidelines.
These guidelines include deep-cleaning of rooms, guests advised to wear face masks, and lifts being reserved for people who absolutely must use them.
Hotel mini-bars and breakfast buffets have been banned, with tea and coffee sachets in bedrooms also either removed or quarantined for 72 hours between guests.
Meals will be available through room service left outside your door, and guests will have to take your own luggage into your room. The guidelines listed by the government today include: ‘Considering minimising lift usage from reception, and providing clear signage for new lift rules.
‘Where offering room service, taking measures such as dropping butler’s trays outside door, and encouraging tips to be added to the bill; ensuring that housekeeping staff follow government handwashing guidelines, and making a checklist of all hand contact services to be cleaned when each guests vacates.
‘Encouraging guests to wear masks on communal corridors.’
Camping sites and caravan parks are not expected to be reopened on July 4, but Mr Johnson’s announcement means Britons can pitch up their tents this summer.
There will need to be round-the-clock cleaning of facilities with shared blocks thoroughly cleaned by operators.
The guidance says that businesses should consider ‘introducing a system of staggered entry and booked timeslots for using shower facilities’.
Any communal kitchens will need to be closed where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Places of worship
The lockdown has had a significant impact on worshippers, with Easter and Ramadan and Eid among the religious events affected.
To the delight of many Britons, mass gatherings for prayers will be allowed from July 4, though distance will still have to be maintained.
And couples across the country will rejoice to know that weddings, as well as baptisms, will be allowed again, though guests will be limited to 30, which may cause altogether different issues.
Churches, mosques, synagogues and temples will be required to be regularly cleaned and provide facilities like sanitiser stations.
Singing will also be banned, to stop the potential spread of the virus.
Playgrounds and outdoor gyms
The risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors is thought to be low, paving the way for playgrounds and outdoor gyms to be reopened.
It is welcome news for parents, with many children still off school and will give them an opportunity to socialise.
Gym-goers will also be cheered by the news, though indoor gyms will stay closed.
Though outdoor gyms, such as this one in Oxford, are allowed to open, indoor ones are still banned from re-opening on July 4
Libraries and community centres
Libraries will be reopened, with Cilip, the UK’s library and information, providing guidance for staff and members of the public.
Despite fears that handling books could pass on the virus, the body found that the risk of picking up a book handled by someone infected with Covid-19 is negligible after 24 hours. If covered in plastic, the risk is negligible after 72 hours.
This means books could be ‘quarantined’ after being returned with a delay before they are back on the shelves.
Libraries are also expected to set up appointments and click-and-collect systems to manage football and discourage browsing.
Bingo halls and community centres will also be able to open on July 4, provided social distancing is maintained.
Museums and galleries
In a less positive note, museums and galleries have warned that they may never be able to reopen because of the financial impact of the pandemic.
The heads of the Tate, National Gallery, British Museum, Victoria And Albert Museum, Science Museum Group and Natural History Museum are yet to confirm opening dates, despite being given government permission to open their doors on July 4.
Directors of the Museums Association, Sharon Heal, said visitors should expect a different experience when they do return.
She said: ‘Where they can, museums are planning measures such as one-way systems and timed entry, and implementing strict health and safety measures in line with Government guidance. For those museums that do reopen next month, the experience for visitors will be different – cafes, interactives and play areas might not be open, but the welcome from front of house staff will be as warm as ever.’
Funfairs, theme parks and model villages
Funfairs and adventure parks will be allowed to reopen on July 4, promising summer thrills and fun that many feared wouldn’t be available this year.
Model villages will also be allowed to reopen, as will inside areas of zoos that were not previously reopened.
Alton Towers has announced it will open most outdoor rides and attractions on July 4, as have Chessington, Thorpe Park and Legoland.
So what won’t be reopening?
Though the country is firmly back on the path to normality, several sectors will not be reopening on July 4.
The government feels that these areas are currently incompatible with social distancing measures, though Boris Johnson has promised to set up ‘taskforces’ to look into getting them up and running as soon as possible.
The following will remain closed:
- Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours.
- Bowling alleys
- Ice skating rinks
- Indoor play areas
- Nail bars and beauty salons
- Indoor fitness and dance studios
- Indoor gyms and sports venues and facilities
- Exhibition and conference centres used for external events
- Swimming pools and water parks