EMERGENCY crews in Southend are on high alert ahead of Super Saturday - after fears the weekend could be as busy as New Year’s Eve.

The East of England Ambulance Service is putting on extra staff to react to a potential spike in incidents, as pubs re-open their doors after months in lockdown.

This comes as a huge campaign “Visit Southend Safely” is launched urging people to plan ahead before visiting the borough.

Southend Council is advising daytrippers to pre-book accommodation and attraction tickets, and check business websites to ensure they are open and Covid-secure.

Former Southend police boss Mick Thwaites said: “It’s going to be tough and I hope people are sensible.

“Enjoy socialising and enjoy a drink but people must understand that it’s very difficult circumstances.

“If people indulge it could go back to the same.

“It relies on people supporting businesses by being sensible.

“They’re not looking to be open for one night, but many nights.

“If it’s like Leicester with a local lockdown they won’t survive.”

The ambulance service said during lockdown there were 25 per cent less alcohol related incidents in the region.

Marcus Bailey, Chief Operating Officer at the ambulance service, said: “We have put in place contingencies to deal with the increased activity but are hopeful they will not be needed and our staff will be left to deal with urgent cases.

“The safety of our patients and staff is of paramount importance to us and we hope the public will enjoy themselves safely and sensibly.”

A spokesman for Essex Police told the Echo they regularly plan for events and scenarios where they might see an increase in demand and this situation is no different.

Adding: “Each team across the county has made detailed plans to ensure we have the right number of people, in the right place, at the right time.”

Martin Terry, councillor responsible for community safety, said social distancing and hand washing remain key to protecting everyone.

He said: “The council and many businesses have invested in providing extra hygiene Covid-secure protocols to help you stay safe.

“Please follow and respect any additional measures put in place and act with consideration for those around you. Together, we need to do all that we can to protect the health of our local community and those visiting.”

Visit visitsouthend.co.uk