With around 80,000 new and returning students set to arrive in the city over these new few weeks, some famous Manchester faces have a word or two for them.
The freshers experience is set to be a very different this year amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
With nightclubs still closed and strict social distancing measures in place in bars – as well as the new rule of six and reports of a 10pm curfew expected to be announced by the government in due course – usual bar crawls and club nights are out of the question.
Concerns surrounding the potential breaching of these current local lockdown restrictions by students is what has prompted a number of famous faces to step in.
Radio DJ Gemma Atkinson, presenter Vernon Kay, Coronation Street actresses Catherine Tyldesley and Brooke Vincent, boxer Anthony Crolla, and reality TV star Scott Thomas are among the Manchester celebrities who have posted videos on social media urging students to “think twice” before hosting or attending any house parties or large gatherings.
The celebrities involved were approached by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Night Time Economy Advisor Sacha Lord to drive home the importance of following the latest government guidance.
Well-known Boltonian TV presenter Vernon Kay said: “It’s important that we get our region back on its feet, and if you’re thinking about hosting a party or going to a student party, please think twice about doing it.
“As you’ve heard, Bolton is on its knees and Greater Manchester is struggling, we need to get the cities up and running again and we can do this by preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“If you do your bit, it will have a massive knock-on effect for everyone else.
“Stay safe, enjoy it, I’m very jealous that my further education was many many many years ago, and I enjoyed every minute of it, so you do the same.”
Corrie co-star Catherine Tyldesley asked students to “sit tight” and added: “We know all the clubs are shut and yeah, it’s depressing, but please please please help protect our amazing city by not hosting or attending house parties.
“Help slow down the virus, because the quicker we do that, the quicker the clubs can open and we can have a belting time.”
Brooke Vincent said: “I know it’s a little bit rubbish and not the start of your uni year that you expected. Manchester at the minute is really really trying to get back on track, to recover, and we need your help.
“If this was another time I’d be at the house parties myself, on the table, with a drink in my hand, but we need to keep everyone safe.
“I assure you, once everything is up and running, I’m pretty damn sure Manchester will do an amazing celebration and you guys can get fully involved.”
Hits Radio Manchester presenter Gemma Atkinson admitted that things were “a little bit difficult”, but urged people to support each other and said: “Please don’t be that person who has these house parties, it’s not worth it.
“This city needs to get back to normal.
“Let’s all do each other proud and keep safe.”
Scott Thomas – Love Island star, social media figure and director of Manchester-based PR agency The Social PR – addressed students saying: “You must be buzzing, but we must keep our city safe.
“The more patient we are, the quicker we will recover.”
These urgent messages of warning to students come after the UK government announced last month that police in England have been given the power to distribute fines to the organisers of illegal gatherings.
Those responsible could be hit with five-figure penalties for playing their part in arranging events with more than 30 people.
Under this new legislation, fines can potentially rise up to £10,000.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.