POLICE are deploying extra patrols on the streets of York and North Yorkshire this weekend as some pubs and bars prepare to reopen.

North Yorkshire Police say members of the public can expect to see an increased police presence in the city and throughout the county as officers work with partner agencies to help ensure the long-awaited opening of licensed premises passes safely.

Drink and drug driving patrols will also be stepped up and drinkers are urged to plan in advance and ensure they have the means to get home safely.

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker, said: “Firstly, my thanks go to everyone who has stayed at home and allowed us to get to the stage where we can see our communities come back to life, albeit still with some restrictions.

“We understand that it has been difficult for many people both in terms of health concerns and economic concerns. As we see our high streets, communities and now licenced venues open up again, we urge people to drink responsibly and respect local residents and their peace and quiet. Licensees have had a very difficult few months, please don’t make things worse for your favourite pub or bar by risking their licence through antisocial behaviour or worse.

“Please plan ahead, enjoy our new semblance of freedom and keep in mind the sacrifices that were made to get us to this point.”

Richard Flinton, Chair of North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum and Chief executive of NYCC, added: “ This is a really important moment for North Yorkshire and York and we have worked hard as a collective with many businesses to help them to prepare for the new measures that must be in place to help them to reopen safely.

“The hospitality industry is worth more than £1.8billion to the economy of North Yorkshire alone and it is very positive to see how carefully the lifting of the lockdown measures are being considered by the many pubs, restaurants and hotels which will start to trade again.

“If we get this right we will manage the risks and be able to enjoy some semblance of normality with our friends and family again – while not spreading the virus.

“So please understand the critical role you each have to play in making sure we contain the virus in our area and return to the new normal as safely as we can.”

David A Kerfoot MBE DL, Chair of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “The hospitality sector, pubs, bars, restaurants, play a crucial role in our economy and provide flexible employment which many people benefit from, particularly working mums and young people.

“We’re delighted that the sector will re-open and thank the hard working staff in these establishments for their efforts in adapting to the changes in service that are required for everyone’s safety. We plea with the public to put kindness and the safety of themselves and others, at the forefront of their mind as they enjoy the return of our fantastic hospitality sector this weekend.”