Published: 16:28, 16 April 2021
| Updated: 17:17, 16 April 2021
Everyone is looking forward to a fine weekend and the chance to to take advantage of the easing of lockdown restrictions, but people in Kent should not forget that social distancing rules are still in place and there are still limits on the number of people that can gather together.
Kent Police promised they would have additional patrols out and about in town centres across the county "to help keep people safe."
They will be on the look-out for breaches of Covid regulations and for any rowdy or anti-social behaviour as people return to the pubs for the first time in a long while.
Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Faulconbridge said: "The easing of Covid-19 restrictions has provided people with more options to go out and visit shops, pubs and other venues, but there are still rules in place and it is vital that people continue to follow them, for the safety of both themselves and others.
"Our licensing officers have been working closely with local businesses to help them prepare for this next step and it has been pleasing to see how committed everyone is to following the national guidance and keeping people as safe as possible.
"I am confident the majority of people in Kent will continue to stick to the regulations as they have done throughout the pandemic.
"For those who choose not to follow the rules, officers will continue to follow the ‘4E’ approach of engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce."
She said: "We also ask people who are planning to drink to remember to do so responsibly.
"While we fully understand the desire among many to head to the pub this weekend, we will not hesitate to take action against the small minority whose behaviour may cross the line and result in other people being put at risk."
According to the Government’s roadmap, no further easing of restrictions is due until Monday, May 17. It therefore remains illegal to hold indoor gatherings of any type outside of your own household or support bubble, or gatherings of more than six people or from two households in an outdoor location.
Mrs Faulconbridge said: "While it is encouraging to see that many people are being vaccinated against Covid-19 and the infection rate is slowing, no one can be complacent and use that as an excuse to breach the current regulations.
"Covid-19 still poses a serious risk to public health and large gatherings such as parties and unlicensed music events may cause spikes in infections.
"Anyone who is organising such a gathering does not need the regulations explained to them, and in these situations our officers will quickly move to enforcement and issue them with a fine."