Shoppers reminded to 'stick to essential trips' as photo shows busy Fishergate

A Preston pub boss has sparked a debate on social media after posting a photo showing an apparently busy Fishergate in the sunshine.

Friday, 8th May 2020, 2:00 pm
Updated Friday, 8th May 2020, 2:00 pm
Fishergate high street in Preston on Thursday

The photo, taken at around 1pm on Thursday, was shared on the Stanley Arms Pub Facebook page and showed people congregating on benches and walking down the high street, with some failing to adhere to the 2 metre guidelines.

Paul Butcher, General Manager of the Stanley Arms pub said it was interesting to see how people reacted on a sunny day a few days before Sunday's new lockdown announcements, but didn't expect the reaction that the photo received.

"There's always different sides to every story because we all have to get out, and what is an essential trip or shopping item is a matter of opinion for everyone," he said.

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"It's good to see people out using local businesses but at the same time, town was being used by a fair few people which isn't the best thing in the current climate.

"I think this dual opinion is being observed and felt by most of the city, country and the world. We thought it would be an interesting point to post on a sunny day a few days before lockdown announcements."

The coronavirus pandemic has raised tensions in Lancashire, with more than 3,800 confirmed cases now confirmed across the borough and almost 140 hospital deaths in Preston and Chorley.

"The government advice is clear, that people should only shop for essentials and stay at home unless it’s for their once daily exercise, alone, or with members of their own household. We would be disappointed to see a rise in non-essential visitors to the city centre," said Mark Whittle, from Preston BID.

"Our footfall cameras have confirmed that between 27th April and 3rd May, footfall in the city centre was down by a massive 86% year on year, which ordinarily we would not welcome, however it seems that the majority of people are adhering to the official advice.

"We continue to ask people not to visit, unless it’s for essential supplies or to attend work."