Residents across Cheshire are being urged to ensure they play by the rules this weekend after the Government introduced new legislation to try to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The four local authorities in Cheshire – Warrington, Halton, Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils – are working with Cheshire Police on plans this weekend to ensure that residents, shoppers and businesses are acting within the guidelines and legislation.
It is the first weekend since the introduction of the new ‘Rule of Six’, meaning that people can no longer meet in groups of more than six people – whether inside or outside.
It doesn’t stop people from continuing to do the things they enjoy, such as going to pubs or restaurants or socialising in other ways, but they are asked to do so responsibly and in a way that minimises the risk of the virus spreading.
The timing of this new rule is particularly important in Cheshire as sharp rises in the infection rate have been recorded over the past week, and new restrictions have been announced that will see tighter restrictions come into force across parts of the region from next Tuesday.
Halton Borough Council chief executive David Parr, who chairs the Cheshire Community Safety Partnership, says it’s vital that people follow the rules to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
He said: “This virus is deadly. Even if you catch it and it doesn’t make you feel that unwell, you could pass it on to your mum, you nan, or other loved ones who could end up seriously ill.
“Some people don’t have any symptoms, so if you are not keeping your distance, or wearing a face covering you could be putting other people at risk.
“These rules are not being put in place to spoil your night out, or stop you from seeing your friends – they are there to make sure we don’t go back to a few months ago when our hospitals were full and we were in a complete lockdown.
“If you run a business, shop, pub, café, restaurant or venue, I am asking you directly to do what you need to, to make your premises Covid-safe.
“If you are going out over the weekend, I am asking you to plan ahead, remember your face covering and to take responsibility for your own actions.”
Superintendent Peter Crowcroft is in charge of planning the policing operation across the county ahead of this weekend.
He says that officers will continue to adopt the 4 E’s approach – engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules, but that they will use enforcement where they have to. This can mean a fine of £100, or even up to £10,000 for serious and significant breaches.
He said: “The new rules are clear and we all have a personal responsibility for following them to help stop of the spread of a deadly virus.
“Please don’t ignore them – whether that’s having a large party at home, meeting friends or family in the park, or going out in the evening in a big group. We must all be thinking about our responsibility towards each other, not how we can bend or get around the rules.
“In most situations, we’ll resolve breaches without having to issue a fine. But if people just won’t listen, they are putting everyone at risk and so we can, and will, take action if we need to.”
Full details of the current regulations relating to Covid-19 can be found on the gov.uk website.