Derbyshire police sound important message - with warm weekend weather expected as coronavirus lockdown continues
Derbyshire police have issued an important message to members of the public with warm weather expected over the weekend – ‘if you don’t need to leave home then please don’t’.
Under Government regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19, people should only go out when absolutely necessary for food, medicine, work or exercise, always try to stay two metres apart and not meet others outside their household, even friends and family.
According to the Met Office, temperatures in parts of Derbyshire could reach nearly 20C on Sunday.
A Derbyshire Constabulary spokesperson said: “Like everyone else we take a keen interest in the weather and as temperatures begin to warm up we know there will be a temptation to get out of the house and into our national parks and other beauty spots.
“While this is something that we would normally be very supportive of, we do live in one of the most picturesque places in the country, right now isn’t the right time to do that – unless of course you happen to be lucky enough to live in these locations.
“A few weeks ago, before the tighter restrictions were placed on our movement, we did see a large number of visitors to the Peak District National Park and the National Forest, as well as the various stately homes and parks in our county.
“While these areas are clearly very large, if thousands of individuals turn up then social distancing becomes extremely difficult – particularly in areas such as car parks.
“A large influx of new visitors also poses a danger to these isolated, rural communities – a good proportion of who are in their senior years and potentially at greater risk of infection.
“So, despite the anticipated warm weather, we would urge people to not make unnecessary trips to areas such as the Peak District.
“Right now the most important thing for everyone to do is help slow the spread of the virus and we all have our part to play in that.
“Our officers are already out and about across the county speaking to people and explaining how they can best follow the guidance and, where appropriate, moving people on if they are behaving is in contravention of that guidance.
“As a force we do not want to criminalise otherwise law-abiding members of our communities; however, where all other means have been exhausted then fines can and will be issued.
“We have not used, and do not intend to use, checkpoints on roads and increasing patrols in areas where we may see higher numbers of visitors is something that will be monitored closely.
“The message from our colleagues in the NHS is clear and simple – if you don’t need to leave home then please don’t. Thousands of people are working day and night, putting themselves in real danger, and very least we can do is support them by keeping our movement to a minimum and by ensuring we are socially distanced when we do step out of our homes.”
Earlier this week, the force said it had not yet fined anyone for flouting the current guidelines.
Anyone breaking the rules can now be fined £60 for a first offence and people are being encouraged to report any breaches to police.
The force spokesperson added: “The best way is for people to contact us via the online form on the website or via the main Twitter or Facebook accounts via private or direct message.
“People should only use 101 if they absolutely have to and to only use 999 if there is an emergency.”