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Suffolk adapts to life in ‘lockdown’ over first weekend of restrictions

PUBLISHED: 15:51 29 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:51 29 March 2020

Police patrol the waterfront on the first Saturday in lockdown  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police patrol the waterfront on the first Saturday in lockdown Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

People in Suffolk have been adapting to the first weekend of sweeping measures to restrict unnecessary movement and prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

Deserted playground in Holywells Park  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDeserted playground in Holywells Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

On Friday, police thanked the ‘vast majority’ of the public for heeding the government’s ‘stay at home’ guidance on reducing the spread of COVID-19 – but warned officers would enforce new powers against anyone putting others at risk.

Over the weekend, officers patrolled town centres, beaches, parks and other public spaces, ensuring people were staying home unless out for one of the permitted activities allowed under lockdown - shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day, medical need or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, or going to and from work, but only where working from home is not an option.

Officers have revealed they received numerous reports of coronavirus-related incidents over the weekend, including a few issues with people leaving their homes.

And one Felixstowe resident told this newspaper their neighbour had been “going out constantly” despite government guidance.

Members of the public in Holywells Park  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMembers of the public in Holywells Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

After reporting his concerns to the police using the non-urgent 101 number, the resident said he was referred to his local environmental health department, which in turn told him to inform the police.

He said his neighbours had been “going out willy-nilly up to 11 times a day”, but that he hoped a knock on the door from police officers would help reiterate the importance of staying at home during the pandemic.

However, police thanked the majority who had adhered to the strict regulations

On Saturday afternoon, Suffolk Constabulary tweeted: “We’ve been out and about across the county today.

A sign outside Global Fruits  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA sign outside Global Fruits Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Thank you for staying at home.”

Gatherings of more than two people are only permitted in very limited circumstances, such as for essential work purposes.

Police can issue a fine of £60 – or £30 if paid within 14 days – to those who do not comply.

People may be arrested, where proportionate and necessary, for a continued refusal to comply.

A man in a surgical mask walks down the Buttermarket  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA man in a surgical mask walks down the Buttermarket Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

On Friday, police said officers would apply discretion and ask questions to establish individual circumstances when enforcing measures.

“If considered necessary, we may take enforcement action if people are not listening and putting others at risk,” said a spokesman.


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