Police patrols are being stepped up across Hertfordshire this bank holiday weekend to ensure people are following coronavirus rules.
Hertfordshire Constabulary says it will be engaging with communities and encouraging people to stick to the new restrictions which came into force in England on Monday, March 29.
The changes mean up to six people or two households are now allowed to meet outside, while the government’s ‘stay at home’ order has ended, with messaging having moved to ‘stay local’.
While residents have been praised for sticking to coronavirus rules over the past few weeks, people are being urged to keep up their efforts heading into the bank holiday weekend.
Chief Superintendent Matt Nicholls, from Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: “We’re all well aware what is permitted as we ease out of lockdown under the roadmap and I’m grateful to see the vast majority of people complying with the new rules.
“Our officers will be carrying out additional patrols across the county over the long weekend, engaging, explaining and encouraging everyone to do the right thing. Enforcement action remains our last resort.”
Darryl Keen, Director of Community Protection, Chief Fire Officer and chair of the strategic coordination group of Hertfordshire’s Local Resilience Forum, added: “I’d like to personally thank the people of Hertfordshire for continuing to play their part as lockdown eases.
“Since Monday 29 March, the ‘stay at home’ rule ended but we are all still being asked to stay at home as much as possible and to maintain social distancing in our everyday activities and I am grateful to Hertfordshire’s residents for doing just that.
“Knowing that one in three people with COVID-19 has no obvious symptoms, we must act responsibly and keep up with social distancing, good hand washing and good hygiene as these are the best preventative measures.
“We have come so far, the end is in sight and as we all play our part, enjoying time with family and friends safely by following the rule of six and two household limit, we will all help to turn the roadmap schedule into reality.”
Meanwhile, Hertfordshire’s director of public health Jim McManus has urged people to “remember to keep their distance” as the lockdown continues to ease.
“The key thing people need to remember is keep their distance. When you get too close to someone infectious you walk into a cloud of their infectious aerosol,” he said.
“Less than two metres in busy indoor places, even with a face covering, is too close.
“If people get too close to each other, that is enough for aerosol and droplet spread of the virus and transmission.
“Face coverings help significantly but only if worn properly and don’t eliminate all virus particles in aerosol and your eyes are still exposed. Keep your distance. All we need to do is keep our distance and wear a face covering properly and we will stop this.”
He said that keeping the rules will mean a reduction in the number of infections.
“Forget them, and we will see numbers rise again,” he said.
“We know from multiple laboratory tests and contact tracing that people that this virus transmits very easily when people are too close.
“Standing face to face and speaking to each other, closer than 1 metre, is more than enough to transmit the virus if someone is infectious. Face coverings properly worn will minimise that risk. Distance reduces it even further.”