Mixing in pubs led to rise in Preston coronavirus cases, health director says

People mixing with other households in pubs, as well as in their homes, has led to a need for increased coronavirus restrictions in Preston, the area’s director of public health has said.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 6:00 pm
Updated Friday, 7th August 2020, 6:04 pm

Speaking at a media briefing after the announcement the city had been designated an “area of intervention” on Friday, director of Public Health for Lancashire Sakthi Karunanithi said almost half of the cases reported were among people aged 30 and younger.

A spike in cases in the city was affecting people from south Asian and white ethnic backgrounds – particularly those living in poor socio-economic conditions, he said.

He said: “I want to pay extra attention to indoor spaces, particularly pubs, where high numbers of people are mixing between households.

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A spike in cases in the city was affecting people from south Asian and white ethnic backgrounds

“That’s a worrying pattern that we really must avoid.”

The new restrictions – which are already in force in parts of east Lancashire, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire – mean residents cannot have others in their homes and gardens; cannot visit other people’s homes or gardens, even if they are in an unaffected area; and are not permitted to mix with other households in indoor venues.

Mr Karunanithi said the “two main reasons” for the rise in infections were people meeting others in their houses and households coming together in venues such as pubs.

He added: “These two are key behaviours we’re trying to protect people from. Don’t meet with members of other households in pubs and clubs.”

Deputy Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary Terry Woods said extra officers would be deployed to Preston following the introduction of new restrictions, which come into force at midnight tonight.

He said: “I’d like to send a message out to the small minority of people who are deliberately flouting rules and endangering the rest of us, that they can expect action to be taken against them.”

He said the force would be working with other agencies to go into pubs and bars, check CCTV and speak to customers to ensure households were not mixing together.

He added: “There will be a real difference this weekend to what people experienced last weekend.”

Preston City Council chief executive Adrian Phillips urged residents to follow the advice.

He said: “If we can’t reduce the infections we could end up having to have further restrictions on people’s lives, which is not to anyone’s benefit.”