The people of Cheshire are being urged to keep playing their part as further restrictions are introduced in the fight against coronavirus.
Six months to the day after England first went into lockdown, those who live and work in the county are being reminded of new measures, which came into force this week.
The rules apply to all areas of Cheshire – and include the “rule of six’’ – and coincide with additional specific measures for those living in Warrington and Halton.
Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims said: “The past six months have been a challenging time for us all but the people of Cheshire have come together and shown great solidarity and community spirit in the fight against this deadly virus. Now more than ever, as we enter a new phase of restrictions, we need the continued support of the local community in an effort to reduce the spread.
“It is clear that we all have a very important part to play over the coming weeks and months. COVID-19 is very much still out there, we must not let our guard down and the personal choices that we all make are crucial to protect others.
“We do not want to stop people from being able to do the things they enjoy but this needs to be done in a responsible and measured way to reduce any further spread of the virus as much as possible.
“Here in Cheshire we are in an unusual position in that a large proportion of the county is now facing tighter restrictions due to a sharp rise in cases. New measures are now in place for those living in Warrington, Widnes and Runcorn meaning that residents are no longer able to socialise with other households in their homes or private gardens.
“As a force we will continue to support the public to navigate the measures in place but we need local residents to take personal responsibility and make sure they are fully aware of the rules that apply to them in the part of the county they live in and ensure they stick to them.
“The rules are there for a reason – to keep us all safe – and we all need to play our part to protect our family, our friends, the communities we live in and, most importantly, the NHS.”
Cheshire Constabulary is continuing to work closely alongside the four local authorities – Warrington, Halton, Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils – as well as colleagues in Public Health and other agencies to ensure that residents, shoppers and businesses are acting within the regulations in every part of the county.
The ‘rule of six’ remains in place meaning that people can no longer meet in groups of more than six – whether inside or outside anywhere in Cheshire.
It also means that all hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses will have to close by 10pm. Those that do not comply risk being fined or premises closed for breaches.
There is now an increase in fines of up to £200 for people not wearing face masks, or those breaking the ‘rule of six’.
In Cheshire, officers will continue to adopt the 4 E’s approach – engaging with people, explaining the law and encouraging individuals to follow the rules, but they will not hesitate to use enforcement where they have to.
ACC Sims added: “The vast majority of people have been listening to the advice, sticking to the rules and following the guidance in place to limit the spread of the virus. However, it is disappointing that a small minority are still choosing to flout the regulations in place and, with the infection rate spreading rapidly, we will not hesitate to take action where we need to – especially for the most serious breaches. We will not allow those who continue to ignore the rules to reverse the hard work and efforts of everyone else.”
Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane added: “The people of Cheshire need to remain vigilant, act responsibly and do everything they can to keep themselves and others safe.
“Over the past six months the vast majority of residents have followed the government’s advice and I hope that this continues as further measures are introduced.
“It is as important than ever that everyone who lives and works in the county plays their part and continues to closely follow the advice in a bid to halt any further spread of the virus to help protect the NHS and save lives.”
Full details of the current regulations relating to Covid-19 can be found on the www.gov.uk/coronavirus website.