'Super Saturday': Metropolitan Police commander says 'large majority' of drinkers followed rules despite Soho crowds

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  • July 5, 2020
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The “large majority” of drinkers and venues in London complied with coronavirus prevention rules on so-called “Super Saturday”, a senior police officer said.

Commander Bas Javid said there were “no significant issues or incidents” as thousands of revellers flocked to pubs and bars yesterday for the first time in three months.

The comments came after footage from nightlife hotspots including Soho and Portobello Road showed crowds thronging the streets, with many failing to follow social distancing rules.

John Apter, the chairman of the Police Federation which represents rank and file officers, was on duty in Southampton last night and said it was “crystal clear” drinkers had not kept to the rule set down by the Government .

In a statement, Commander Javid said a small number of venues in London had deduced to close early following advice from police officers due to crowding.

But he said: “Yesterday saw lockdown restrictions lifted further and many Londoners attended pubs and bars last night to enjoy themselves.

The majority of the public complied with social distancing guidelines and remained vigilant. While some areas were notably busy such as Soho and Portobello Road, we are pleased there were no significant issues or incidents in the capital.

“There were well versed plans for this weekend and we worked closely with our partners and licensed premises – this was demonstrated by compliance from the large majority of venues and members of the public.”

Commander Javid said officers would continue working with venues on Sunday to ensure the rules were followed.

(PA) In Soho, there was little social distancing on display as revellers crowded outside bars and pubs (AFP via Getty Images)

He added: “It’s vital that we don’t lose track of how far we have come and all act responsibly and play our part to minimise the spread of Coronavirus.”

London Ambulance Service said it received 4,204 calls over the course of yesterday — 501 less calls than last Saturday.

Super Saturday – in pictures

Tim Lord, chairman of the Soho Society, spoke of his anger at the sight of streets crowded with drinkers not socially distancing.

He told the Standard: “The virus certainly had a big night out in Soho last night.

“What happened last night was both not safe and involved only vertical drinking and no social distancing…Any diners would have been put off by the crowds of drunk people last night.

“It is true that we all want to imagine that the crisis never happened and we can all drink and be merry and pretend we are safe – but we aren’t.”