Police are encouraging people visiting pubs and bars reopening this weekend to enjoy themselves but to act responsibly.
Saturday (4 July) will see many venues reopening across Sussex, with people being able to drink and socialise for the first time in months.
Superintendent Graham Barnett said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves but to act responsibly and stay safe.
“As well as expecting people out enjoying the newly-opened pubs, bars and restaurants across Sussex, we will be supporting a number of planned events on what could be a busy weekend.
“Working closely with local authorities our message is clear: enjoy yourself but please do so safely, responsibly, and in accordance with guidance.
“Many members of the public will take the opportunity to meet up with friends at pubs and bars but will notice the way these venues are operating will be different with a number of measures in place, including limits on the number of customers they can welcome into their premises.
“Take note of the new restrictions in place, don’t congregate outside licensed premises and avoid large crowds to keep each other safe. Social distancing restrictions remain in place and large gatherings continue to be prohibited. It is not our responsibility to police social distancing as this is guidance and not law, but we are expecting you to take personal responsibility to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Police patrols will be in place as part of our core policing this weekend. I urge you not to be a drain on emergency services and the health service by drinking too much or through antisocial behaviour. As we have throughout this health crisis, we will continue to engage with members of the public, explain the guidelines and encourage them to be followed before using enforcement as a last resort.
“Any criminality, anti-social behaviour and assaults against officers are completely unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.
“Enjoy yourself, but do this within the law and respect those around you. If you do go out remember look after yourself by staying within your group and planning how you are getting home.”
The message follows a plea by all public services across Sussex to continue to protect the NHS – on what will be the weekend of its 72nd anniversary – by complying with social distancing guidance. Organisations which form part of the Sussex Local Resilience Forum, including all emergency services, local authorities and NHS providers, have urged people to avoid ‘placing a strain’ on local services by following the rules.