It is unsurprising, if still disappointing, that thousands of Liverpool fans hit the town on Thursday night to celebrate their first league title in 30 years. This is not to wag a finger at the crowd; I’m not sure I would have been able to resist the urge to celebrate in a non-socially distanced fashion if I had been on Merseyside that night.
However, authorities—including the club—have released a joint statement about the situation, pleading with fans to go back to self isolation and social distancing:
Throughout the last week, Liverpool Football Club, Merseyside Police, Liverpool City Council and Spirit of Shankly have worked together to consistently remind people that the region is still disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and ask people to celebrate LFC’s Premier League title win safely.
Several thousand people turned up at the Pier Head on Friday June 26 and some chose to ignore the social distancing guidance and risk public safety.
Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable.
The potential danger of a second peak of COVID-19 still exists and we need to work together to make sure we don’t undo everything that has been achieved as a region during lockdown.
When it is safe to do so, we will all work together to arrange a victory parade when everyone can come together to celebrate. Until that time, the safety of our city and our people continues to be our number one priority.
As I said, I understand the desire to celebrate. The months of social distancing—and the anxiety, stress, paranoia, and depression that has come with it—has been challenging. Many of us want to reach out to our closest friends and family. And the added excitement of ending the 30-year title drought was obviously too much to ignore.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 doesn’t care about these special circumstances. The celebrations will almost certainly lead to new cases and deaths.
The city of Liverpool has been through a lot over the years. The people have suffered, often at the hands of others. As a result, they appreciate the good times even more. The passion of the city and the way they live life to the fullest is one of the reasons why I love Liverpool Football Club, which embodies this passion at the best of times.
While the celebrations were an understandable release by the city’s Reds, it’s time to pack it in. For now.
There will be a time to celebrate together. But not yet.