RESIDENTS visiting pubs and restaurants this weekend are being urged to exercise caution and stay safe.

The hospitality sector will reopen its doors tomorrow, Saturday, and welcome back customers after being closed for more than three months.

It is expected that 75 per cent of bars and restaurants will reopen, but their capacity will be greatly limited as social distancing measures remain in force.

And those who will be going out are urged to stick to these measures to ensure the safety not only of yourself, but of everyone you may come in contact with.

Jackie Bird, chief nurse for NHS North West, said: “If you are going out this weekend, please remember the risk of coronavirus isn’t over, and for some people it can be fatal.

“Anyone can get the virus and anyone can spread it. The most important thing you can do is take precautions to keep yourself, your friends and your family safe.

“We are grateful for the huge level of public support shown for the NHS in recent months and we continue to ask for people’s understanding and help to keep our patients and staff safe.”

A huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to prepare premises and streets themselves for this next phase, and it is important to know that each business will have its own way to welcome back customers.

Some businesses have already ‘sold out’, while others have warned customers that they will not be able to simply walk in.

Many businesses will be cashless and only accept contactless payment and customers are being told to expect their names and addresses to be recorded as part of the track, test and trace measures to manage any future spikes in Covid-19.

Cllr Karen Shore, deputy council leader and cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, said: “This weekend is going to be another major step towards bringing us all slightly closer to the familiar way of life we are used to.

“I know how much work has been going on, and the success and safety is now in the hands of people coming out to enjoy themselves while respecting each other’s space.”

Social distancing remains at two metres, and where this can’t be fully accommodated, a one metre plus distance should be observed. People should also wash their hands regularly.

Cllr Shore added: “Face masks are now compulsory if you are using public transport and taxi drivers may also insist that a face mask is worn.”