"Plan ahead, be patient and enjoy a steady Saturday" as bars reopen says licensing boss Kevin Johnson - The Guide Liverpool

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“Plan ahead, be patient and enjoy a steady Saturday” as bars reopen says licensing boss Kevin Johnson


Everyone heading back out to bars and restaurants this weekend is being urged to take it easy and be responsible, to help Liverpool avoid a second lockdown.

And the message is clear – plan ahead, prepare to be patient and enjoy a #steadySaturday instead of a mad one.

Businesses have spent weeks and invested thousands of pounds in ensuring that venues are ready to reopen from Saturday with new social distancing and safety measures in place.

Now Kevin Johnson, the city’s head of licensing, says it’s up to customers to play their part too and make sure it’s a successful but still cautious first weekend.

“We want the people who are going to go out over this weekend to enjoy themselves, but we don’t want it to be party central on Saturday,” he stresses. “This has to be an easing in, and we’ve got to be acutely aware that there’s still a pandemic out there and we’re still at risk of a second spike.

“As we’ve seen in Leicester, we’re also at risk of local lockdown and that would have a terrible impact on businesses.”

Kevin says all bars, restaurants and hotels intending to reopen this weekend have had to carry out a risk assessment in line with government guidelines.

That means there’s not only been a change in how lots of venues look – with spaced tables to allow social distancing, signage on the floors to mark one-way systems and hand sanitiser stations – but also in how they operate.

The guidance says there shouldn’t be any dancing, no loud music so people need to talk more loudly, no live performances and no TV shows which are likely to encourage chanting or singing because they could all increase the risk of the virus spreading in the air.

“Most places have switched to table service and a lot are looking at pre-booking only because they’ll have a significantly reduced capacity,” adds Kevin.

“People are also only likely to be able to book a table for a limited period, they won’t be able to go and stay all afternoon and early evening, to be fair to other customers and also to the businesses themselves.”

Kevin says he understands that some people will want to go out and make the most of restrictions being eased after so long, but he’s stressing the need for restraint.


“One of the big challenges with license premises is that when people drink alcohol they often become more tactile, less socially aware, they can be unsteady and leaning on bars, walls and tables, they speak more loudly. All these factors which could impact on the spread of Covid-19 become more prevalent when people are under the influence of alcohol.

“So we’re asking anyone going out to think of those businesses and the owners who’ve invested a lot of money to allow us to socialise again.

“It’s vital we get these venues open again and that we support them, but if people do that irresponsibly by getting drunk then they could just be harming the businesses because we risk a local lockdown which would be very damaging.

“Anyone going out this weekend should plan their day and evening in advance; think about where they want to go, check it’s open and check how it’s operating now – don’t just turn up in the city centre to a restaurant or bar and expect things to be how they were before, especially not with a big group of friends, because that’s against the guidelines and you’re putting the companies in a very difficult position.

“And please be patient because you may have to queue, you may have a limited time at your table, and service might take longer.

“Just be prepared for it to be very different – and be responsible, reasonable, and respectful.”

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