RESIDENTS have been urged to act responsibly as the town’s pubs reopen this weekend.

Bars and restaurants across the UK will be able to welcome customers back for the first time since March on Saturday, July 4.

And Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner is asking patrons to be mindful of social distancing guidelines if they do visit any such establishments.

David Keane says he ‘hopes officers will not have to be deployed in order to address disorder’.

He added: “I understand that people haven’t had the opportunity to go out over the past few months and will be eager to celebrate as our pubs, bars and restaurants reopen, but I am urging people to act responsibility.

“The vast majority of Cheshire residents have followed the government’s advice over the past few months, and I would like to see residents being as considerate as they have been in the lockdown.

“The chief constable has assured me that his officers will be available to ensure people can enjoy their weekend safely, but I would also like to see local people taking personal responsibility for their actions as we all know that the coronavirus hasn’t gone away.

“This includes following social distancing guidelines put in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus, which is still in circulation in our communities.

“If these guidelines are not followed, we could see a second wave of the virus develop – which would put unnecessary pressure on our NHS.

“Please continue to respect all of our emergency services who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe during the pandemic.”

Cheshire Police will have a ‘dedicated operation’ in place this weekend, with an increased presence in ‘key areas’.

Superintendent Julie Westgate said: “I understand that it's been a difficult time for everyone, particularly young people, who are keen to go out and socialise with friends.

“I don’t want to spoil the fun and I want everyone to have a good time but please do so safely – it’s essential that everyone continues to remain vigilant and acts responsibly.

“If you are visiting bars and pubs this weekend, drink sensibly and pre-plan your travel and how you are going to get home.

“The threat of coronavirus has not gone away, and while pubs and restaurants are reopening it is really important to remember that things will not simply go back to normal.

“Social distancing guidelines remain in place, meaning that capacity in all premises will be limited and people will need to plan ahead.

“Officers will be patrolling key locations and we will be dealing with any incidents of crime and disorder, while our local authority partners will deal with any licensing issues.

“We will continue to use common sense and discretion to determine what is reasonable, with officers engaging, explaining, encouraging and, only as a last resort, enforcing.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind people we cannot enforce social distancing and are relying on your good nature to follow the guidance.

“Keep in mind the purpose of the remaining regulations and the national effort, and by following the guidance and working together we can all help to protect the NHS and save lives.”