As the nation gears up to support the England team in the long awaited Euro football tournament, officers in Staffordshire are reminding fans to stay safe.
It’s anticipated that many fans will be heading out to watch the games with friends. Many town centre pubs are offering indoor table bookings for groups of six while Covid restrictions remain in place, and larger groups in outdoor areas.
Ahead of the first match on Friday 11 June, Chief Inspector Karen Stevenson, lead officer for the policing operation focused on keeping fans safe, has shared some advice.
CI Stevenson said: “While we want you to enjoy yourselves we need to stress that Covid restrictions remain in place. Those pubs and bars showing the games will be working hard to keep you safe and they have the right to enforce Covid restrictions. Of course many pubs will be using outdoor areas too, but they may still only be operating table service so please respect and follow their measures and instructions.
“Throughout the tournament we’ll have extra officers policing Staffordshire’s streets and towns, particularly during key England games. Our aim is to make sure you enjoy the football safely and my officers will quickly step in if anyone does commit a crime or start acting anti-socially.
“We also want to remind anyone intending to have a drink to make sure you leave your car keys at home, plan ahead and book your taxi home.
“This applies to the morning after too. With many of the Euro matches taking place during the week we want fans to stay safe if they have to drive the next morning. Throughout the tournament our officers will be stopping vehicles and breathalysing motorists to keep our counties roads safe.”
Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Support Member for Public Health and Integrated Care, Dr. Johnny McMahon, said: “A lot of effort and hard work has enabled us to get us into this position where we can enjoy the tournament at home or inside a public house. We need to back our teams and enjoy the matches in a safe and sensible way.
“The variant of concern has been identified in Staffordshire, reminding us that the risk of Covid-19 has not gone away. If you do go out to enjoy a game, please respect the staff and respect the restrictions in place. They are there for an important reason – to keep us all safe.”
Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “As the European Football Championships begin this weekend, many of us will be watching matches at our local pubs or at home with family and friends. It’s important that we still ensure we are following the guidance to keep each other safe. Currently, you can meet up in groups of up to six people or as two households, indoors or outdoors. Please practise Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air where you can, to help lower the risk of transmitting Covid-19, and keep getting tested at least twice a week – remember that not everybody is vaccinated, and even if you have had your vaccine, you can still spread the virus. Please test yourselves on the day you’re going out to make sure you do not have the virus and risk infecting others – one in three people with Covid-19 do not show any symptoms.
“If you are going for a weekend away or a day out and using public transport, please remember to maintain social distancing and wear a face covering unless you are exempt. If a train or a pub is looking particularly crowded, please use your own personal judgement and leave if you don’t feel safe.
“Our public protection teams are continuing to work with venues such as pubs across the city to ensure they are operating in a covid-secure way, and they are continuing to advise venue owners and event organisers on the rules and regulations in place, to ensure staff and visitors are as safe as possible. As always, we will look into any concerns that are raised and take the appropriate action.
“Our Covid stewards are also working alongside public protection and CCTV teams and are out and about in the city, offering advice and guidance on compliance to Covid-19 guidelines.
“Please do enjoy the matches and stay safe.”