People heading off to the pub this weekend are being urged to ensure they stay safe and follow the measures which are in place to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Pubs and restaurants can now serve food and drink to customers outside, following the relaxation of national lockdown measures earlier this week which has enabled outdoor hospitality to reopen.

However, customers are reminded that they must follow the rule of 6 or 2 households when meeting up with people they don't live with, and must maintain social distancing from anyone who is not in their household or support bubble. Face coverings should also be worn if people need to go into the pub or restaurant, for instance to order food and drink, to pay or to go to the toilet.

Superintendent Simon Inglis of Wolverhampton Police said: "The move to Step Two of the Government road map out of lockdown is a welcome relief for many people and a great opportunity for our communities to support their local pubs and bars that have the appropriate outside space and measures in place. 

"However, as always, we would ask for your support in ensuring this is done responsibly and in line with the regulations that still exist regarding numbers in attendance, pre-booking, social distancing, wearing face coverings and so on. 

"We will be having extra officers on this weekend who will be working alongside our council colleagues to check on compliance levels as you would expect. However our overall intention with this is that we can support hospitality and provide reassurance with our presence, not to issue fines and sanctions. 

“If people choose to abuse these new freedoms and not comply it is not just themselves but also the wider community they will be letting down, as we would support the council in bringing in sanctions against the pub or bar involved. This would affect everybody, not just the individuals at fault.

"So please, enjoy the warmer weather, the greater freedoms and the time with friends and family. But also please do so in a way that ensures the rules are followed, we help our much needed hospitality sector rebuild itself and we move forward in a much safer and prosperous way for Wolverhampton."

John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, added: "It's great news that more places are able to reopen – and that we can go to pubs and restaurants again if we want to, albeit outside for now.

"As more places open, more people will be mixing and that leads to an increased risk of transmission and so it's really important people continue to follow the Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air guidance to minimise this risk as much as possible.

“Please remember that you can only meet with people who are not in your household or support bubble if you do so outdoors, and then only as a group of up to 6 or 2 different households. 

“If you are going to meet with extended family or friends, the best protection you can give them is by getting a rapid Covid-19 test first so you can be reassured you don't pose a risk to others. 

“As soon as you are eligible, please make sure you get your Covid-19 vaccination and, don't forget, it is still advised that you undertake regular testing even if you have been vaccinated.”

More information on rapid testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19 is available at Coronavirus Testing. Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 is reminded they should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or calling 119.