With Halloween and Bonfire Night around the corner, Wirral and other local authorities in the Liverpool City Region (LCR) are urging residents not to gather or arrange events.
As the borough is under Tier 3 restrictions, the risk of transmitting coronavirus is significantly higher than in other areas outside of the city region and any mixing with other households should be avoided.
Major outdoor events, including the annual firework displays in Wirral’s parks and the River of Light Spectacular, scheduled to take place over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period, have been cancelled to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Wirral Council, along with other local authorities, are encouraging members of the public to find alternatives to trick or treating and gathering at bonfire or firework displays this year.
Cllr Tom Anderson Chair of Tourism Communities, Culture & Leisure Committee at Wirral Council, said:
“The cancellation of these outdoor events has been an unfortunate but necessary decision in order to avoid large gatherings of people and prioritise the safety of our residents.
“As with many other celebrations this year, the events of Halloween, Bonfire Night and Diwali will look different in 2020 but families around the borough should not arrange their own gatherings in place of the usual firework displays.”
All requests to hold events such as firework displays, no matter how large or small, will be refused for public safety reasons.
Chief Inspector Peter Clark, who is heading this year’s operation for Merseyside Police said:
“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. Where people are flouting restrictions, we will however take action.
"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.”
As in previous years, council officers will be working with both the Police and Fire service to reduce anti-social behaviour and protect the vulnerable.
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.”
The council are also working with Mersey Fire and Rescue Service to help remove fly-tipped waste or unlit bonfires. To help support this service, residents can report a build-up of dumped and combustible waste that could be used for deliberate fires, such as wood, mattresses and couches, by reporting it online or calling the fire service on 0800 731 5958 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm). Out of hours, you can call 0151 666 4444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
“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 ideas on how to celebrate differently this year, Child Accident Prevention Trust share some suggestions such as making edible fireworks, making your own Guy Fawkes or some themed games. For more information on these and how to stay safe this season, visit the Child Accident Prevention website.
Wirral Libraries will be hosting storyteller Rogan Mills on their Facebook page as he reads some themed stories for Halloween on Friday 30 October, 4pm or join another Storytime session at 10.30am on Saturday 31 October of ‘Room on the Broom’. Find out about this and other activities families can get up to this Halloween, such as virtual trick or treating, by visiting the half term activites article on Wirral View.