CALLS have been made for people to stay safe on what has been dubbed 'Super Saturday'.

Pubs in and around Swindon will be back pulling pints for the first time in more than three months after the government gave the go-ahead on restrictions being eased.

But leaders of the town have urged caution.

Councillor David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, urged people to support local business but added safety is the most important thing.

He said: “Stay safe. That’s very much the message.

“We’re very keen as many businesses get up and running as quickly as possible but it’s got to be while ensuring we protect people’s health and that’s a difficult balancing act.

“Please come out and support all our local businesses but make sure you take any necessary precautions to protect yourself as well as anybody else.”

And when it comes to people going out, Coun Renard believes people will flock to the pubs.

He explained: “When we opened up the town centre two weeks ago we saw a really good response.

“It was very busy and popular. Not back up to pre-covid levels but I think there’s a real appetite for people to get out and about, to shop and to do other things that they did before Covid.

“I’m sure a lot of people, where it’s safe to do so, will want to visit restaurants and eat outdoors and visit the pubs as well.”

Coun Renard added that he wasn’t planning on going anywhere tomorrow but he does have a haircut booked in for a few weeks’ time.

Wiltshire Police has rearranged days off for officers so it can make sure the town is covered for every possibility.

Mark Andrews, chairman of the Wiltshire Police Federation, said: “I know people are excited about the pubs opening this weekend but I would ask them to be sensible and stick to the protective measures introduced by the government to ensure people’s safety.

“Wiltshire Police has ensured, through the cancellation of some officer’s rest days, that we have sufficient resources to allow people to relax without fear of disorder.

“These changes to police officers’ shifts have a significant impact on their wellbeing and I hope our communities appreciate the work they do and the sacrifices they make to keep them safe.

“We have seen recent rises in assaults against police officers who are trying to encourage people to follow the covid rules. This is totally unacceptable.

“Hopefully common sense and civility will prevail this weekend but, where it doesn’t, we are prepared to deal effectively and proportionally with those breaking the law or assaulting our officers.”

Swindon’s two Conservative MPs urged caution.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “Many of us are looking forward to visiting our favourite local pubs in Swindon, but we should stay safe at all times and respect staff and other customers.”

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson added: “As we carefully reopen more parts of our economy, the prime minister rightly urged everyone to act responsibly s we do not waste the progress we have made so far.

“As we see many pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers open for the first time in three months, it will be a much-needed boost to these businesses and their employees.

“They have been working tirelessly to prepare and I have no doubt Swindon residents will rally round and back our vital local businesses.”

The businesses themselves are taking every precaution necessary to ensure safety and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Measures have been put in place including distancing markers, contactless ordering and sanitisation stations.

Liam Larkin manager of Mackenzie's in Old Town said: “We have markings on the floor for distancing and we’ve got the tables so that people are facing back-to-back or side-by-side.

“We’re having a staff requirement that all staff sanitise or wash their hands every half an hour.

"We’re having the chefs in the kitchen wear masks and we’ve got a weekly health questionnaire for staff to fill out to make sure no-one’s coming in to work if they’re feeling ill or sick.”

Another requirement in the guidelines is that all locations should keep contact details for any customers in case of an outbreak.

At Mackenzie's, drinkers will have to sign into the wi-fi and leave their details.

Liam added: “We’re using our wi-fi provider to do the track and trace. When people come in we’ll ask them to log in to the wi-fi which will have them give their name, number and address.

“The wi-fi company will hold on to that information for 21 days and then gets rid of it.”

Also opening back up in Old Town is the Goddard Arms.

Manager Scott Cager said: “We’re going ahead. We’ve got all the guidance in place.

“We have sanitiser stations set up throughout the pub, we’ve got a one-way queueing system going on.

“All staff will have the options to wear masks, gloves and aprons to help protect themselves.”