29 June 2020| | 3 min read
Warning after drunken behaviour on Newcastle Quayside
“Mindless idiots” fuelled by alcohol jumped into the River Tyne as crowds gathered on Newcastle Quayside despite lockdown not being lifted.
Newcastle City Council shut down three bars and issued warnings as groups drank takeaway booze from local pubs, leading to anti-social behaviour and people risking death by jumping from the Swing Bridge.
Cllr John-Paul Stephenson, cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, said: “We received a number of complaints regarding premises that were either open in contravention of lockdown laws or serving takeaway alcohol, which was causing non-socially distanced groups to gather, drinking in the streets and disorder.
“We issued prohibition notices and warnings to licensees, reminding them of their responsibilities and that failing to close is a criminal offence potentially subject to unlimited fines."
'The onus is on the public to be sensible'
“Thankfully all of the businesses not only complied but worked with us and police to try and restore order and are taking steps to prevent it happening again," Cllr Stephenson said.
“However, with a wider opening of city pubs, restaurants and cafes just days away we must again reiterate that the onus is on the public to be sensible.
“We know there is a pent-up desire to get back to normal, to see and socialise with friends and family, and to enjoy the hospitality that Newcastle is renowned for, yet it is possible to do that without being a mindless idiot.
“Drinking too much or putting yourself and others at risk by failing to social distance is one thing but throwing yourself into the Tyne – as we have seen some individuals do over the weekend - is just madness.
“The Tyne is a big river, with strong currents that can overwhelm even the strongest of swimmers – To anyone thinking of jumping in please don’t. It’s selfish, puts both you and any rescuers in danger and could so easily end in tragedy.”
Pub, restaurant and cafe reopening
The Government will allow licensed premises to reopen from Saturday July 4.
Newcastle City Council and its partners are supporting pubs, restaurants and cafes to do this safely, with licensing applications – particularly those to allow the creation of pavement cafes – being fast tracked to allow appropriate social distancing.
However, scores of venues across the city say have already said they will not open immediately as they are not comfortable that they can keep customers, staff and the wider public safe.
Bars issued with prohibition notices
Over the last weekend in June the council issued prohibition notices to Tiger Hornsby and Sambucas on the Quayside, ordering them to immediately cease on-sales, with them both – and the nearby Red House – warned about their takeaway operations.
The Lochside in High Heaton was also issued with a prohibition notice.
That brings the number of licensed premises in Newcastle to have received a prohibition notice since the start of Government lockdown measures to eight.
Drinkers are also being reminded that a public space protection order is in effect in Newcastle that bans the consumption of alcohol in public areas, so that the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy those spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.