Coronavirus: Greater Manchester Police leave cancelled for pubs reopening

A notice informing pub goers of Covid-19 restrictions Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Many pubs are preparing to reopen on Saturday

Greater Manchester Police has cancelled leave to ensure it can mount a "significant operation" as pubs reopen on Saturday, the area's mayor has said.

Andy Burnham said there would be an increased police presence across the region, but the approach would not be "heavy-handed".

He also said there would be "more specialised surveillance" in place to stop further illegal gatherings.

The area has seen several illegal parties and raves during the lockdown.

Two men were shot at a lockdown party in Manchester's Moss Side on 21 June, while a man died of a suspected drug overdose and a woman was raped at two illegal "quarantine raves" on 13 June in Oldham's Daisy Nook Country Park and Carrington in Trafford.

Greater Manchester Police officers also had to break up a birthday party attended by about 40 people in May and investigate reports of more than 660 parties in the first two weeks of lockdown.

Pubs in England have been closed since March to slow the spread of Covid-19 but have been told they can reopen from Saturday, with restrictions including mandatory table service.

Mr Burnham told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that his advice to anyone wanting to take advantage of the lockdown easing, was "use those new opportunities with greater caution and, where possible, stay local".

"Be cautious, be sensible and look out for each other," he said.

"This is still a very serious public health crisis that we find ourselves, and people should approach the weekend with that in mind."

Image copyright ASP
Image caption Police were present as scores of young people made their way to the Carrington area rave

Dep Ch Con Ian Pilling said he hoped officers would not have to be deployed to break up trouble.

"I appeal to the public who are going to go out on Saturday, please behave sensibly," he said.

The region's night-time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, said people should check before travelling as many pubs in the area were adopting a "cautious safety-first approach" and waiting before reopening.

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