POLICE in Omagh are gearing up for ‘a Christmas like no other’ as Covid-19 brings big changes to the traditional festive party nights.
The end of November usually marks the start of the Christmas party season but, due to Covid-19, many events have been cancelled.
However, police are still preparing to carry out their usual patrols to cope with the traditional crime that occurs during the festive period.
Chief Inspector Graham Dodds said, “As pubs, restaurants and hotels start to reopen, there is always a danger that people will get carried away because they haven’t been able to do things or get out for a while.
“We want people to go out again and enjoy themselves but our key jobs is to keep everyone safe.
“We want people to be safe in terms of Covid, but also in terms of things that always happens around Christmas such as drinking too much, getting involved in fights that they should avoid and drink driving.”
With Covid-19 regulations in place, it is expected that popular venues throughout the district will be operating at a reduced capacity and there may be an earlier closing time introduced during the festive period.
CI Dodds said police will be calling with venues as they reopen to familiarise owners with the regulations and provide them with any advice they need.
“We would rather prevent breaches than detect them,” he added.
“The publicans we work with are all decent people and are fully Covid compliant, so our focus is not to detect or book pubs… we just want to prevent that from happening.”