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Leaving lockdown safety drive

A major team effort is under way across Middlesbrough as the town starts to emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

This weekend will see some bars and other premises begin to reopen after lying dormant for more than three months.

Middlesbrough's night-time and leisure economy is vital to the town's prosperity, but those returning to favourite haunts are being urged to be patient and follow the latest health guidance to the letter.

Middlesbrough Council - working with partners across the public and private sectors - has put in place a raft of measures to protect the safety and well-being of members of the public as they once more enjoy an evening out in town.

The Safe Haven has been supporting the town's night-time economy for the past five years, but has been on hold during the lockdown measures imposed in March.

It's up and running again from this weekend (Saturday, July 4), once again helping revellers to stay safe and to reduce unnecessary alcohol-related attendances at local A&E departments.

The new Safe Haven Rapid Response service will see specialised emergency vehicles patrol and respond to urgent calls from licensed premises for those suffering the adverse effects of alcohol and/or treating those with minor injuries.

The vehicles will be crewed by a Medics UK paramedic and a member of Vistech's security who will provide the service throughout Middlesbrough every weekend.

Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council's Head of Public Protection, said: "The Safe Haven has been a place of safety for many people who find themselves vulnerable, through drink or other circumstances, and have been in need of support including medical treatment.

"The Safe Haven has been able to reduce demand on local A&E services on busy weekend evenings, and its re-opening will again help the NHS to focus on those who need urgent medical attention and treatment."

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "It's fantastic to see Middlesbrough coming back to life after such a difficult time, and this is what so many businesses have been waiting for.

"But we also need to tread very carefully - the virus is still a deadly threat, and we need to treat it with respect.

"By working together and following the latest health guidance to the letter we can do that, and get Middlesbrough up and running again.

"I hope everyone has a great time, and I urge anyone going for a night out to look after themselves so we don't have to."

Pictured: Medics UK First Aider Claire Bradley, Vistech Safe Haven Street Marshall Mark Davies, Medics UK First Aider Tom Mawson

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