Extra police patrols as bars and restaurants open doors from Monday

Northumbria Police has warned revellers to “act responsibly” with more officers patrolling the streets as lockdown restrictions are eased across England.

Thousands are expected to congregate in outdoor areas of bars and restaurants across the North East when they reopen to the public on Monday.

The Government ordered them to close their doors on January 5 to stop the spread of the coronavirus as the country was plunged into a third lockdown.

But now “Stage two” of lifting lockdown restrictions can go ahead as planned, because the four tests are being met.

Boris Johnson said moving on to the next step was “fully justified” due to the success of the vaccine rollout, and the drop in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations.

That means more businesses will reopen – including non-essential shops, hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms and pubs – for the first time in three months.

Northumbria Police has urged people to act responsibly and confirmed patrols will be carried out in high footfall areas of the region.

Police on horses on Grey Street in Newcastle City Centre
Police on horses on Grey Street in Newcastle City Centre
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

A spokesman said: “As restrictions continue to ease, we look forward to welcoming even more people back into our towns and cities.

“We know how important the night-time economy is to our communities and we want everyone to be able to enjoy the partial reopening of pubs and bars for outdoor service.

“While we appreciate it has now been a while since people have been able to socialise in such settings, we would ask that everyone act responsibly, look out for each other and ensure they have plans in place to get home safely.

“However, as we were before lockdown, our officers will be out and about in high footfall areas to offer a reassuring presence, step in to tackle concerning behaviour and come to the aid of those who need us.”

A total of 103 Newcastle pubs, bars and cafes will offering al fresco food and drink from Monday after city council bosses fast-tracked 45 applications for new pavement café spots to help more businesses welcome customers back safely.

Limits around social contact will remain in place, meaning people will have to abide by the rule of six or ‘two household’ limits.

Riverside's beer garden was a huge success last year
Riverside’s beer garden will be one of many reopening on April 12
(Image: Facebook/Riverside)

Some licenced premises are opting to use a booking system while others are limiting capacity.

Ed Foster, Newcastle City Council’s head of public safety and regulation, said: “We know that, from the last year, parts of the economy can restart successfully and that people are capable of being sensible, social distancing and showing respect for others around them and we can only encourage the public to follow the measures that businesses put in place.”

Indoor areas of pubs, restaurants and cafes will not be allowed to open until Step 3 of the roadmap, from May 17 at the earliest.

Chronicle Live – Sunderland