The police and council both agreed it was the best action to take.
After a warm weekend of people flocking to tourist sights across the country and heading out for BBQs, despite Boris Johnson’s new lockdown rules, Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police have been forced to close Piccadilly Gardens. The new measures have been deemed necessary due to the sheer amount of people continuing to ignore lockdown rules, with Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Greater Manchester Police suggesting fencing off the popular city centre spot.
Earlier this week, it was announced that police across the country would have the powers to fine those who disobeyed, however, powers have now been granted to allow police to make arrests if people continue to ignore the guidelines.
The chief constable spoke to Mike Sweeney’s BBC Radio Manchester show today, saying:
“Everybody knows that Piccadilly Gardens has been a hotspot for homelessness, for drug dealing and for some of the crime issues that we find as a real challenge. Sadly that has continued and is exacerbated in some way because everybody else isn’t there. It’s far more visible, what’s going on.
“So I’ve asked my team to work with Manchester city council today to close Piccadilly Gardens.”
Gatherings of more than two people are banned under the new lockdown rules, and the public is advised to stay at home and not see friends or family over the next three weeks to limit the spread of the virus. The only exception is those that you live with.
It is currently unclear when the gardens will be closed off to the public, however, the council has agreed that the area should be “fenced off” to help prevent people continuing to gather in public spaces.