Bristol Beer Festival bears ‘great’ safety responsibility

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image captionThe festival is due to take place at Lloyds Amphitheatre on Bristol harbourside

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.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}The organisers of Bristol’s first festival since lockdown “bear a great deal of responsibility to ensure it goes off safely”, a public health professor has said.

About 600 tickets have been sold for the Bristol Craft Beer festival which is taking place at the Lloyds Amphitheatre this weekend.

But Dr Gabriel Scally described alcohol as “the virus’s best friend”.

Organisers say they have made every effort to keep the festival safe.

Dr Scally, a professor of public health at the University of Bristol and a member of the Independent Sage government health advisory group, said: “Mass gatherings have been shown to be a big, big problem.

“Alcohol is the virus’s best friend; it reduces inhibition, the volume of chat goes up, the closeness of people goes up and the inevitable happens.”

bristol beer festival bears great safety responsibility 1 - Bristol Beer Festival bears 'great' safety responsibility
image captionDr Gabriel Scally said organisers “bear a great deal of responsibility”

Dr Scally said bringing any number of people together with the presence of alcohol was a “worrying thing” at a time when the number of coronavirus cases was going up.

“We really don’t need a big spreading event in the centre of Bristol,” he said.

Like many places in England, Covid-19 cases in Bristol are on the rise, with Bristol’s mayor commenting last week that it remains a cause for concern.

Bristol City Council’s public health director, Christina Gray, said: “The situation is concerning but not alarming.

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‘Below national average’

“What we’re seeing is the general effect of unlocking, and is what we would expect to see as people start going about their business and start to socialise more.

“In Bristol we are below the national average and we are doing everything that we can and should be doing. We just need all of the public to continue to help us by maintaining those behaviours and rules that we know so well.”

Festival organisers said they had been working closely with Bristol City Council to ensure they were implementing the required safety measures.

“Where we feel it’s important, we are going beyond these measures as your safety is our top priority,” they said.

“There will be no groups larger than six people at our event, with two-metre social distancing in place. BCBF will be safe for everyone, so let’s enjoy this together.”

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