Manchester bans outdoor bank holiday drinking under renewed lockdown

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Customers drink outside as bars on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter set out tables on the closed road on July 04, 2020 in Manchester, England. The UK Government announced that Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants can open from Saturday, July 4th providing they follow guidelines on social distancing and sanitising.  (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
Customers drink outside as bars on Thomas Street in Manchester's Northern Quarter. (Getty)

Police have said they will enforce a ban on outdoor drinking in Manchester city centre over the Bank Holiday weekend due to COVID-19 fears.

Authorities have decided to enforce the restrictions because they are concerned people may congregate in large groups which would make it easier for coronavirus to spread.

Greater Manchester and other areas in northern England have been placed under extra measures compared to most of the rest of England due to a spike in cases.

Residents there have been told not to meet people they don’t live with inside private homes, except if in a support bubble, or visit someone’s home or garden if they live in the affected areas.

Pedestrians walk past a "To let" sign in the window of a closed-down shop in Manchester, northern England on August 12, 2020. - Britain's economy contracted by a record 20.4 percent in the second quarter with the country in lockdown over the novel coronavirus pandemic, official data showed Wednesday.  "It is clear that the UK is in the largest recession on record," the Office for National Statistics said. Britain officially entered recession in the second quarter after gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 2.2 percent in the first three months of the year. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Police will be enforcing the restrictions in Manchester city centre this bank holiday weekend. (Getty)

Inspector Jonathan Shilvock, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), 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.”

Pedestrians wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, carry boxes and shopping bags as they walk past shops in Oldham, Greater Manchester, northwest England on August 20, 2020. - Oldham, as of Thursday, has one of the highest rates of new COVID-19 infections, and could be subject to a imposed Local Lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
Pedestrians wearing a face-covering in Oldham, which faces tighter restrictions than the rest of Greater Manchester. (Getty)

Pubs and restaurants will remain open to customers but they will have to follow social distancing rules to avoid households mixing.

Police in Manchester were dispatched to 40 house parties that went ahead last Thursday despite coronavirus restrictions, with one seeing an officer suffer a broken jaw.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey told BBC Radio Manchester the force has been dealing with an extra 2,000 calls a week since the new COVID rules were introduced.

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