Drinking outdoors has been banned in Manchester city centre over the coming bank holiday weekend, due to the pandemic and public health fears.
Police have said they will enforce the new measures over the weekend, fearing too many people will be out drinking in open spaces and breaking social distancing guidelines.
However, Mancunians will still be allowed to drink in pubs, restaurants and beer gardens, as the the restriction only applies to non-licenced places – which effectively bans the drinking of alcohol in parks and other similar spaces, but does not apply to licenced premises.
Stricter lockdown regulations were imposed across the North West last month following a rise in new infections. The new rules stated that people living in different households are not allowed to meet each other indoors or in private gardens.
In a statement released by Greater Manchester Police, Inspector Jonathan Shilvock said: “Unfortunately, due to the current pandemic, events taking place over the bank holiday weekend have had to be cancelled for fears around public health and a possible lack of social distancing.
“In previous years during managed and licensed events people have been permitted to consume alcohol in open spaces.
“However due to this year’s events being cancelled, and for the fear of the effect it has on public health, there is a Public Space Protection Order in place in Manchester city centre which prohibits the consumption of alcohol in a non-licenced public place and will be enforced this weekend by Greater Manchester Police.
“Public health is one of GMP’s priorities and we will do all that we can to ensure the population comply with the legislation, keeping the population safe.
“We urge anyone planning on gathering in the city centre this weekend to think twice, listen to government guidelines and protect the health of your family and friends by keeping to the social distancing rules this weekend.”
An order that stops people from consuming alcohol in open spaces has been put in place in Manchester city centre this weekend due to the pandemic and public health fears. We're doing all we can to ensure legislation is complied with in order to keep everyone safe. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/1ZcZvAcAtP
— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) August 26, 2020
Greater Manchester Police’s latest statement comes after news that the Manchester Pride festival has been cancelled this weekend, replaced by a virtual festival.
Manchester City Council have urged would-be party goers not to travel into Manchester this weekend, and to adhere to social distancing and other Covid regulations.
“I know that many people will be disappointed that the Pride weekender will not be happening this year,” said Councillor Bev Craig.
“It’s a hugely important event in the city’s calendar, which reminds us how far we have come in the fight for equal rights for LGBTQ+ people. The celebration in Manchester is one of the biggest in the UK and, of course, it will be missed.
“However, we cannot and should not forget that Covid-19 remains a very real threat and we all need to play our part to limit the spread of the virus. We have all had to make sacrifices over the last few months, and not celebrating Pride in the normal way this year is another sacrifice we have to make to keep Manchester safe.
“Greater Manchester is currently under increased Coronavirus restrictions to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and a major incident has been declared in the region due to the recent spike in cases.
“It’s important therefore that we all continue to follow the simple safety measures in place to keep us all safe. Wash our hands, keep our distance, don’t visit other people’s homes or have gatherings in your house, wear a face covering – but these simple things remain essential in our fight to slow the pandemic. And it’s important if you do have symptoms, stay at home and book a test.
“Please do not travel to Manchester over the bank holiday weekend. Pride will return next year – but this year you can still join in safely at home with some fantastic virtual events and entertainment.
“Manchester Pride Festival is going online and hosting three days of content across the bank holiday weekend, culminating in a digital Vigil on the Monday evening. It will be streamed via UnitedWeStream and will also be broadcast live on Gaydio and BBC Radio Manchester.
“If you are already in Manchester, please remember that bars across the city will have a limited capacity – as will the Gay Village itself – so you will be expected to queue where necessary, and if the area is too busy, you may be asked to leave.”