Police thank public for Super Saturday social distancing after Devon welcomes back visitors

Police have thanked the public in Devon for ‘playing their part’ in stopping the spread of the coronavirus during Super Saturday.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the region experienced an influx of visitors, with traffic on the M5 at Exeter at a standstill, when pubs, hotels and campsites were given permission to reopen on July 4 – dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ – some three months after the coronavirus lockdown.

The force said police had not needed to use their powers to close any venues on Saturday.

Jim Pearce, Devon and Cornwall Police Assistant Chief Constable, said: “As we had anticipated it was a busy weekend but the vast majority of people did continue to adhere to government guidance, played their part – and to them I must say ‘thank you’.

“In the lead up to the 4th July we had worked closely with licensees, emergency services and other partner agencies in anticipation of an increase in demand particularly during the reopening of the night time economy.

“While we did see an increase in volume of people and of incidents in comparison the past few weeks and months, over all the demand was in line with that we would expect to see on a Saturday night at this time of year.

“The majority of licensed premises had worked hard to ensure that venues were compliant with Covid restrictions and could open safely and as such only a handful of sites across Devon and Cornwall experienced disruption.

“Police did not have to enforce closure on any venues across the force on Saturday but were engaged with licensees and provided support where needed.”

By 9am on Saturday the M5 at Exeter was at a stand-still, said police, but the road ‘soon cleared’ without any issues.

On Saturday, July 4, Devon and Cornwall Police received 862 emergency 999 phone calls and 820 non-emergency calls via the 101 service.

Some 804 calls were made to 999 on Sunday, July 5, and 792 non-emergency 101 calls.

Police said the figures were for all reported incidents, and not limited to anti-social behaviour and drink related disorder.

“The figures are in line with what we would expect to see on a busy summer weekend,” a police spokesperson said.

The force said it had been keen to welcome visitors back to the region ‘safely and respectfully’ after lockdown, but reminded the public the virus had not gone away.

ACC Pearce said: “We must continue to observe social distancing and everyone must play their part to prevent the virus spreading.

“Please continue to play your part and behave in a way that respects our communities, supports the local economy, but ultimately keeps you and others safe.”

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