Reducing the impact of Covid-19 on residents, vital services and businesses will come from team work by people across Nottinghamshire, according to a senior police officer.
With the whole city and county area due to go into Tier 3 alert level from tomorrow (Friday), new restrictions are coming into force which put further limitations on social interaction.
The measures are aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19 and protecting the NHS from increasing pressures it is facing.
If everyone plays their part, Nottinghamshire could have its threat level reduced and allow restrictions on social interaction and business activity to be lifted sooner rather than later.
Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “When the new Tier 3 restrictions come into force tomorrow, Nottinghamshire Police will continue to engage with the community to explain the legislation and encourage people to play their part in reducing the spread of Covid-19.
“The aim of the measures is to save lives and lessen the burden on the NHS – which is becoming increasingly stretched as we approach the time of annual winter pressures in hospitals. Positive action now will save lives.
“The people of Nottinghamshire have been incredibly supportive and patient with the national and local measures that have impacted on all our lives this year.
“Sadly there has been a minority of people who think the legislation doesn’t apply to them and we have been forced to take action, and in some cases hand out fines. In the last week we have given £10,000 fines to four people who organised parties with more than 30 people present as well as numerous £200 fines to people who wantonly broke the law.
“The new Tier 3 restrictions will mean greater limits on socialising across Nottinghamshire but it is important people continue to follow the rules. We will have no hesitation in fining people who flout the legislation with no regard for the impact their actions have on families and frontline key workers.”
One of the new local measures for Nottinghamshire – which was agreed by all local partners and the Government – includes the retail sale of alcohol being banned from 9pm, a measure which is intended to reduce the amount of spontaneous parties which had been occurring in Nottinghamshire since hospitality venues were forced to close at 10pm when the area went into Tier 2 last week.
ACC Meynell said: “This is a welcome move following a number of gatherings and parties that our officers have had to disperse in recent weeks, in some cases leading to £10,000 fines for the organisers.
“It is completely unacceptable to have parties when there is a global pandemic that is costing lives.
“The legislation is clear that from tomorrow people in Nottinghamshire are not permitted to mix indoors or outdoors with anyone outside their household or support bubble, except in certain places like parks and play areas. It is really important that people respect and abide by this, and we know from experience that most people will.”
The new restrictions also mean all pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals, such as a main lunchtime or evening meal, or a main course. This should also be a table meal, where people are seated.
They can only serve alcohol as part of a meal. Pubs, bars and restaurants must still close between 10pm and 5am.
Businesses will continue to be responsible for ensuring they are compliant with legislation and providing a safe environment for their customers and staff.
Action can be taken by local authority partners against businesses that don’t follow the guidance, with the support of the police where necessary.
Tier 3 will also impact on a number of annual celebrations this year in Nottinghamshire, including Halloween and Bonfire Night.
ACC Meynell said: “The safest way to celebrate Halloween this year is at home as the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community is currently very high, which is why we have the highest level of restrictions possible in the three-tier system.
“Tier 3 restrictions mean people must not mix with anyone inside or outside if they are not from their household or support bubble so any Halloween experience will be very different as people would need to only go out in household groups and maintain social distancing.
“Bonfire Night will also be impacted as the traditional public bonfire gatherings will not be permitted under the legislation, and it is likely most people who want to celebrate will have to do so in their gardens with their households and support bubbles. We would urge people to do this as safely as possible to prevent further pressure on the emergency services and the NHS.
“Each of the measures being introduced are designed to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and if people abide by the new legislation we would hope to see infection rates reduce which may mean Nottinghamshire can come out of Tier 3 as soon as possible.
“I would urge people to familiarise themselves with the legislation and help us to work as a team across Nottinghamshire to reduce the spread of the virus and the impact it has on all our lives.”