We are reminding our communities of the importance of social distancing this Bank Holiday weekend.
Since last week, people have been able to spend more time outdoors, and can visit parks and open spaces. They can also spend time with one member of another household, provided it is outdoors, on a one-to-one basis and that they adhere to strict social distancing guidelines at all times.
As a result we have seen our parks, beaches and open spaces busier than they have been since lockdown measures were introduced on 23 March.
But the advice remains that everyone in public should continue to social distance from people not from their own household.
Public transport should be avoided other than for essential journeys, and people should only make these journeys by cycling, walking or driving in a private vehicle. People also should check in advance of visiting places like National Parks and beaches to make sure they are prepared for visitors.
Individuals still cannot visit the homes of friends and family, unless it’s to help a vulnerable person, for medical reasons, or to take a child to another household with whom parental responsibilities are shared.
Fines were now start at £100 – having been raised from £60 – lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days. This will double on each further repeat offence up to £3,200.
People can remind themselves of the current level of restrictions here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing
Chief Inspector Paul Sutcliffe said: “Since restrictions were introduced, the overwhelming majority of people in Merseyside have made huge sacrifices and shown a great deal of patience in keeping to the restrictions asked of us.
“It has been a challenging time for everyone, and as we move into a new phase of the national response to this pandemic, it is absolutely vital that we keep going to ensure we can all return to some degree of normality as soon as possible.
“That means continuing to abide by the government’s rules, social distancing when in public spaces and only leaving home for essential activities, which include shopping for food and medication, exercising and going to work if you are a key worker or can’t work from home.
“We know Bank Holidays are traditionally a time when people want to get outdoors and see family and friends. But these are not normal times, and I urge people to remember why the restrictions are in place and use the time at stay at home as much as possible this bank holiday weekend to do things together as a family.
“There will come a time when people can gather in groups at each other’s houses and in parks and beauty spots, and that time will come sooner if people continue to abide by the restrictions.
Chief Insp Sutcliffe added: “The vast majority of the public across Merseyside are heeding Government advice and only going out for essential reasons. But there are some people who continue to flout the regulations.
“As with previous bank holidays during the lockdown, we will be out and about reminding people why restrictions are in place and encouraging the public to do the right thing and keep social distancing. We also have powers to enforce the legislation, with fines starting at £100. “As with previous weekends, we will also work closely with the Coastguard and local authorities to monitor our coasts and open spaces.
“In recent weeks we have had a number of reports of people speeding, and with more vehicles on the roads have been and will continue to proactively police our road networks to ensure people are keeping to the speed limit; not driving under the influence of drink or drugs, not using their mobile phone whilst driving and wearing their seatbelts.
“During the last Bank Holiday weekend we made arrests and issued fines as a result of people ignoring the rules. We will continue to take action against people and will act when we are given information from the community about incidents like this taking place.