Police and council issue warning before bank holiday weekend

West Yorkshire residents are being reminded to stop the spread of coronavirus by avoiding any large gatherings on August bank holiday weekend.

By Daniel Sheridan
Friday, 14th August 2020, 11:45 am

Leeds Festival, Leeds West Indian Carnival, and the Black Music Festival which would normally be held over the weekend have had to be postponed as part of the response to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Leeds St Patrick’s Day Parade, AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds, and Leeds Pride have also been among the events that have had to be put off for this year.

Throughout the lockdown period, Leeds, along with other parts of the county and the country, has unfortunately seen a number of unlicensed events, such as raves and other gatherings, which are prohibited by the current restrictions due to the risks they present to public health, police said in a statement released on August 14.

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Police said there are concerns that similar events are being organised for this Bank Holiday weekend.

Now, police, council and public health officials are urging people to act responsibly and continue to observe the restrictions that forbid holding or attending any such events.

Partner agencies are already working jointly using a range of measures, including enforcement, to intervene and deter any known planned unlicensed events.

At the same time they are asking people to recognise the ongoing health risks to themselves and the wider community that attending any such events can bring.

The Leeds district has recently seen a significant increase in the transmission rate of Coronavirus which has prompted a heightened focus on the need for people to stick to the restrictions, particularly in areas and communities identified as being at greater risk, police added.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Kingsman, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “The August Bank Holiday weekend is traditionally a focus for some major headline events in Leeds. We recognise the frustration and disappointment there will be, particularly among young people, that this year’s events have had to be postponed due to the unprecedented ongoing situation with Coronavirus.

“We enjoy strong and positive relationships with all our communities who have continued to support the very necessary restrictions placed on all our lives to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“We are working hard alongside our partner agencies to keep the public safe from this significant and deadly threat to public health and we will continue those efforts throughout the Bank Holiday weekend and beyond.

“We will be maintaining our approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance with the restrictions in the first instance but will look to enforcement measures where necessary.

“Unlicensed events and large gatherings present a real risk to everyone’s health, and we hope people will take this message on board and do the right thing for themselves and their communities.”

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Communities, said: “The continued efforts from our residents across Leeds to take the steps that are necessary to tackle coronavirus have been fantastic, but we know there can be no room for complacency.

“The risks associated with coronavirus continue to be very real, and it is absolutely vital that everything is done both collectively and individually to take care of ourselves, our communities and our city.

“The August Bank Holiday weekend is traditionally one of the busiest and most popular in Leeds, and we know people will be extremely keen to enjoy themselves which is understandable.

“We are not trying to spoil anybody’s fun, but we are asking that people continue to be sensible and follow the government guidance regarding coronavirus to help stop the spread.

“This means not attending any large gatherings, unlicensed events or activities where social distancing cannot be maintained to ensure that everybody’s health and wellbeing is being protected and not put at risk.”

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Thank you

Laura Collins