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Local authorities urge residents to stay safe this Halloween and Bonfire Night

Article date - 29 October 2020

This Halloween and Bonfire Night authorities across the Liverpool City Region are urging residents not to gather or arrange events.
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With the Liverpool City Region under Tier 3 restrictions, the risk of transmitting coronavirus is significantly higher than in other areas so mixing with other households should be avoided.

Major outdoor events scheduled to take place this over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period have been cancelled to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and all requests to hold events such as firework displays, no matter how large or small, will be refused for public safety reasons.

Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said:

“In St Helens Borough, as across the Liverpool City Region, we must by necessity cancel our traditional activities under the current Government-imposed restrictions.

“With Covid-19 hospital admission rates rising locally in recent weeks, organising a large-scale visitor attraction like our Spark in the Park event and encouraging unnecessary social mixing through ‘Trick or Treating’ would not be possible.

“As we look towards celebrating Halloween and Bonfire Night safely, we have launched our annual Good Guy campaign in St Helens, which, while run every year, this time addresses the unique community safety challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are calling on residents to be #AutumnAllies, and support the efforts of local organisations in keeping St Helens Borough safe and clean – particularly so that the emergency services are free to deal with other emergencies, including those brought about by the pandemic.

“This means not only preventing behaviours which increase the risk of injuries – such as fireworks misuse, nuisance fires being lit, anti-social behaviour and illegal firework sales, but also discouraging behaviours which increase the risk of coronavirus transmission – such as trick or treating, public bonfire events and firework displays and other public gatherings.

“Support our partners in Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service by reporting fly-tipped waste on public land and open spaces for removal to prevent deliberate fire-setting, support Merseyside Police by knowing your children’s whereabouts and preventing anti-social behaviour, and support our NHS by keeping your family celebrations safe, following the firework code, and not trick or treating.”

Discover alternative family activities at www.sthelens.gov.uk/awesomeautumn.

Local authorities will continue to work with the Merseyside Police to help protect residents by ensuring that the restrictions are followed.

Chief Inspector Peter Clark, who is heading this year’s operation for Merseyside Police said:

“As you know there are a number of rules and restrictions in place in relation to Covid-19 - that means that the planned displays and events we normally attend, will not be happening this year. We know that this is another sacrifice we are having to make, however now is a time to pull together, follow the guidance and help to stop the spread.

“We are keen to get the balance right between protecting people from the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that they can still enjoy this period. We will maintain a common sense approach during the Halloween and Bonfire night period – and are working to encourage people to respect the restrictions and explain why they are so important. Where people are flouting restrictions, we will however take action.

He continued: "Our message regarding anti-social behaviour during this period remains simple – it will not be tolerated and anyone caught committing this type of offence will be dealt with firmly and robustly. No one should have to suffer being the victim of anti-social behaviour and I would like to reassure everyone that there will be extra high-visibility patrols during this time.”

Local authorities are encouraging members of the public to find alternatives to trick or treating and gathering at bonfire or firework displays this year.

As in previous years, council officers will be working with both the Police and Fire services to reduce anti-social behaviour and protect the vulnerable, as well as removing fly-tipped waste and illegal bonfires.

Joe Cunliffe, Station Manager at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We know things won’t be the same this year and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service still wants people to enjoy this period, but now is the time to pull together, follow the guidance and help stop the spread - it’s more important than ever that we all work together to protect our communities and the most vulnerable among them.

“Deliberately started fires in the run up to bonfire night put a huge drain on already overstretched Fire Service resources. You can help to reduce the number of incidents this bonfire period by never giving combustible materials to anyone, especially young people, and making sure your wheelie bin is out of sight – only put it out on collection day and bring it back in in as soon as possible.”

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging members of the public not to have bonfires on public land this year in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Station Manager Cunliffe added: “Community bonfires must not take place on public land, as this will encourage people to gather in breach of current restrictions. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service will respond to reports of fires and will extinguish them throughout the bonfire period. We would urge people to report any combustible material that could be used for deliberate fires via our website www.merseyfire.gov.uk, by calling 0800 731 5958 or via our social media pages. 

“If you decide to have fireworks at home, only buy them from reputable retailers registered with MFRS. Please observe the restrictions and always follow the firework code.”

For further information on how to stay safe this Halloween and Bonfire Night follow the Police and Fire service social media channels who will be sharing tips and information over the next few weeks. In an emergency always call 999 and ask for the service you require.