Police plea to those breaking the exercise rules during lockdown


Cheshire Police are pleading with the public to obey the exercise rules during the coronavirus lockdown as many local residents are continuing to travel.

The warning comes as police are continuing to receive reports of people driving to the countryside for exercise or to walk their dog.

The Government rules during lockdown allow people to leave their homes once a day to take exercise but to stay local and not travel to green spaces, parks and beauty spots during the current epidemic.

The Government guidelines also set out that dog owners are allowed to walk their pet as part of their one form of exercise a day, and not as a separate exercise.

A spokesperson for Cheshire Police said "We are still receiving reports of people travelling out into the countryside to "take their exercise" with excuses like " I always walk the dog here" "I needed to get the kids out of the house" these are not acceptable or valid in the current climate. Please only walk / exercise from your own home follow the Government guidelines

"We will continue our day to day policing but If we come across or are called to people choosing to break these rules which are there to keep all of us safe, we will take action. We need you Stay at Home, we need you to Stay Safe, we need to Be Safe for everyone including your love ones."

On Friday, 26th March, the government made new public health regulations strengthening police enforcement powers in England, to reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.

If members of the public do not comply and stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, the police may:

• instruct them to go home, leave an area or disperse

• ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules

• issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days

• issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence

Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "The Prime Minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives. All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading.

"That's why I'm giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe."

The Government guidelines are:

You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:

• shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

• one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household

• any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

• travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Dave Mangnall
Wednesday 1st April 2020 at 2:22 pm
I don't understand why we are asked to exercise only once a day. If it's safe to walk the dog round the block, say, once a day, providing you steer well clear of anyone else who's on the block at the same time, then why is it not safe to do it twice a day, or even three times a day? I've no problem with following the government rules, but I'm curious about the logic behind it.
Edith C Richards
Wednesday 1st April 2020 at 7:30 pm
Because if 500 people live near a park and take a 1 hour walk in the park each day that's 500 walks. If each of those people take two walks the same park now has 1000 walkers a day. You are making it twice as busy. The busier it is the harder it is to social distance. Three walks makes it three times busier etc... It also normalises going out for those who are not following the government advice and not making sufficient effort to stay away from others.

At 5pm today on the Carrs there were two separate groups of teenage girls sitting together on different benches. Lots of runners, cyclists and large family groups not making the effort to avoid passing close by other park users. A (very) few of these people are coughing and there is a trail of discarded tissues lining their route. We still don't know how contagious this virus is and the 2m 'safe' distance is currently a best guess. It also makes it increasingly difficult for other people to get their own 1 hour exercise safely because the path is so busy.

The more you go out, the busier it is, the greater the chance you will help spread the virus. It could also force the government to impose stricter controls.
Marcia McGrail
Wednesday 1st April 2020 at 8:35 pm
There are as many guideline dodging excuses as there are folk in this overcrowded country - and this crisis is highlighting how (and where) to accommodate 72m people.
Dave Mangnall
Thursday 2nd April 2020 at 8:15 am
Thanks, Edith. That is indeed logical.

Marcia - I think in some cases, though not all, people ignore guidelines because they don't see how it applies to them. Instructions without explanations! As for me, as I said before, I've no problem with following the guidelines. I'm not fit enough to walk twice a day! But on my one walk I shall go nowhere near the Carrs!
Trevor Lambert
Thursday 2nd April 2020 at 10:44 am
With reference to the Carrs, too many walkers (almost all of them dog walkers, based on observation), are driving to the car parks, either at Twinnies Bridge or off Cliff Road
Simon Worthington
Thursday 2nd April 2020 at 1:37 pm
You must all remember just how important dog owners are especially if they
have a 4 x 4 as well. They must be free to allow their animal to "roam" far
and wide.