Police gearing up for a surge in visitors to Devon on ‘Super Saturday’ as lockdown eases are warning anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
Devon and Cornwall Police are expecting an ‘influx’ of visitors to the region this weekend as pubs, campsites, hotels and bed-and-breakfasts reopen for the first time since March.
Any anti-social behaviour, as seen recently in Exmouth when hundreds of youths flocked to the beach to party, drink and fight, will be dealt with said police.
Shaun Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable, said: “Our licensed and hospitality industry will re-open on Saturday, but it will be a very different experience for those going to a pub or restaurant.
“I strongly encourage you to book your visit and you will be restricted to two hours in an establishment.
“We want people to enjoy that experience, but we cannot tolerate scenes like we have witnessed in Exmouth and on Plymouth’s Barbican in the last week.
“All people have a duty to drink responsibly, adhere to social distancing and not fight or commit criminal damage simply because we are coming out of lockdown.
“We will take proactive action against any drink related disorder and would ask people to think seriously about their actions.”
The force said over the last week there had been a surge in bookings across hotels, bed and breakfasts and campsites, as the UK gears up for the re-opening of the day and night-time economy on ‘Super Saturday’, on July 4.
Devon and Cornwall Police said visitors to the region were welcome, but must respect the region’s communities and adhere to social distancing to control the spread of coronavirus.
The force said it was stepping up police patrols throughout the summer, but warned officers would prioritise call-outs and could take longer to attend non-emergencies.
Mr Sawyer said: “I know that our world class tourism and hospitality industry has been decimated by the Covid pandemic and there is a desperate need to welcome tourists back to our peninsula and islands.
“But this needs to be done safely and appreciating the fears our resident communities may have with many thousands of people coming back to our region – with the health concerns this may bring.
“We follow government advice and guidance as to what is safe, but we would ask all people – whether you are a visitor, resident or business – to be respectful and begin to enjoy parts of life none of us has experienced since the end of March.”
He added: “If you are coming to Devon, Cornwall, Torbay, Plymouth or the Isles of Scilly, we welcome you as a responsible citizen, but please be aware Covid has not gone away.
“Social distancing still needs to be observed and everyone must play their part to prevent the virus spreading and not bring more misery upon our communities.
“Play your part and behave in a way that respects our communities, supports the local economy, but ultimately keep yourself and others safe.”
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