Caution urged ahead of possible top-flight return for Norwich City

Action from the Norwich City Football Club promotion parade through Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywoo

An estimated 50,000 Norwich City fans gathered in front of City Hall in 2019 to celebrate the Canaries' Championship success but fans have been urged to be cautious ahead of potentially sealing a possible Premier League return today (April 17 2021). - Credit: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich City could seal a return to the Premier League tonight but Norfolk police chiefs have warned fans to behave themselves and not breach coronavirus regulations.

The Canaries could confirm an immediate return to English football's top-flight by beating Bournemouth at Carrow Road in a clash which kicks off at 8pm.

City's Premier League return could even be secured earlier in the day, depending on other results involving Championship rivals, but Norfolk Police have urged fans to "keep celebrations within the regulations".

Extra police officers will be on duty today and tomorrow which is the first weekend pubs, bars and restaurants have been able to open outdoors after being closed for more than four months.

It follows an easing of coronavirus restrictions which came into force on Monday, April 12 as part of the government's road map out of lockdown.

Julie Wvendth, Norfolk's temporary assistant chief constable, said she knew it was "potentially a big day for Norwich City in their Premier League promotion bid".

Norfolk Police's assistant chief constable for Norfolk Constabulary, Julie Wvendth. Photo: Norfolk C

Norfolk Police's assistant chief constable for Norfolk Constabulary, Julie Wvendth. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Archant

But she warned: "Whatever the result, please keep your celebrations within the regulations and avoid gathering in groups of more than six people. Remember - larger gatherings are still prohibited under the Health Protection Regulations."

Ms Wvendth was talking as part of her latest community update as non-essential shops, hairdressers and gyms have been allowed to open their doors once again.

She said: "Naturally, people will want to enjoy these greater freedoms, taking advantage of the chance to meet with family and friends at venues outside.

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"We want people to enjoy themselves but to do so safely and responsibly. We know from experience of policing the night time economy that things don’t always turn out that way.

"With restrictions having been in place for so long, there is always a bit of a concern that people can overdo it, especially when there’s alcohol involved. So please go out, enjoy seeing your friends and family but be sensible and stay safe."

Ms Wvendth also urged people to think about vulnerable people who will be nervous about the easing of restrictions and socialising.

She welcomed the continued roll-out of the vaccination programme as a "really positive step", but said there was still a large proportion of the population yet to be vaccinated and insisted it was still important people continue to follow social distancing guidelines.

Ms Wvendth added: "Our journey on the roadmap out of lockdown has been overwhelmingly positive with most people embracing the gradual return of freedoms sensibly.

"I am sure we can expect nothing less this weekend and thank you as ever for your continued support to drive out this infection. Let’s continue to protect ourselves and to protect Norfolk."