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Arrests as pubs resume service

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TWENTY-TWO Islanders were arrested during the first weekend that pubs and bars resumed their normal service, with some landlords accusing customers of showing a lack of respect to staff and updated coronavirus rules.

Acting Chief Inspector Mark Hafey (28779980)

Large numbers of people took the opportunity to visit St Helier pubs and bars as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. Until this weekend, pubs and bars could only serve alcohol with food orders and only one household was allowed per table.

In a post discussing the behaviour of customers, cocktail bar Ce Soir’s Facebook account reported that some people had been ‘disrespectful and abusive’, with other landlords expressing similar concerns.

The post said: ‘We are very disappointed to have experienced some disrespectful and abusive behaviour from groups of people in our establishment last night and the blatant disregards for our staff and the rules we are trying to enforce to make a safe food-and-drinks environment under the current government guidelines.

‘We have been left with no choice but to introduce a zero-tolerance policy for any disregard to our rules.’

Sean Murphy, who runs The Lamplighter pub, said he had experienced similar issues.

‘Trying to get people to adhere to these rules is like re-educating people again,’ said Mr Murphy.

‘Some just don’t understand that the physical distancing is there for a reason, as well as the other requirements.

‘Some people can get a bit bullish and think we’re enforcing these rules unnecessarily. It seems to be noticeably the younger age element that doesn’t want to understand – it really is unfair on the staff, as they have to learn the rules as well, and the last thing they need is backlash from people being rude.’

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The States police made a total of 22 arrests in town throughout the weekend, 12 of which were for drink-related offences.

‘It’s great to see the police out and about to be honest,’ said Mr Murphy. ‘They’ve got a hard enough job as it is, but it is great to see them making sure everyone’s adhering to the rules. We want to see the pubs get back to full capacity, so we all need to stick together so we can continue to move forward and welcome everyone back.’

Acting Chief Inspector Mark Hafey said that the arrests made this weekend were to be expected, but added that they were disappointing nevertheless.

He said: ‘These are still unprecedented times and I understand that people need to adapt to these new regulations. In the main we found pubs and bars to be well managed and it’s clear that many licensees have made every effort to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

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‘We will continue to work closely with licensees in the coming weeks and months to ensure standards are maintained and regulations are followed.

‘We did make a number of drink-related arrests this weekend, which is disappointing but was to be expected. It’s always a shame when someone’s excessive drinking causes issues for others. These individuals will be dealt with appropriately.’

The Ambulance Service has reminded Islanders to drink responsibly. In a post on social media, they said: ‘Yes, the pubs and bars are open, but please give us a rest and drink responsibly, make sure you have a plan to get home that doesn’t involve an ambulance and definitely do not drink and drive.’

Last week, the Island’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Susan Turnbull, warned that a disrespect for the latest Covid-19 rules could lead to a return of restrictions on the way pubs operate.

James Jeune

By James Jeune
Reporter

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