1. ITV Report

Public told to stay at home over Easter weekend

The public has been urged to stay at home to help save lives by resisting the temptation to travel over Easter, as the country remains in lockdown as part of strict measures to control the coronavirus outbreak.

Health, council and police bosses from across the Midlands are sending clear messages to communities to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives

– Public Health England

Some councils have had to introduce additional measures in an attempt to stop people using parks and open spaces to use outdoor exercise equipment.

Walsall Council say they have had to tackle groups ignoring the government’s guidance regarding social distancing.

They decided to increase fencing around games areas and outdoor gym equipment after Walsall Police reported that they had repeatedly had to move on a number of people using the facilities.

Some councils have had to introduce additional measures. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley has said the force will now ramp up the enforcement of coronavirus regulations.

Mr Adderley said the “three-week grace period is over”, and people in the county could now face fines or a criminal record.

He said: "By going out and disobeying the law you are increasing the chances of spreading this coronavirus and causing many more deaths, unnecessary deaths."

We haven’t issued any fixed penalty notices, but we have charged a number of people with COVID-related offences.

We’ve had examples of people sunbathing in the park, having barbecues in the park, we’ve had large gatherings of family members. To those people, I am saying ‘your time is up’.

– Nick Adderley, Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable

The Police chief has said his force is only "a few days away" from introducing measures such as roadblocks and searching shopping trolleys as people continue to flout the coronavirus regulations.

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Reasons to leave the house:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently 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, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person;
  • And travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

Temperatures could reach 24 or 25C on Good Friday, with the risk of some showers in parts of the Midlands by the afternoon.

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: “For those who still don’t understand the gravity of the situation, let me remind you, that this weekend isn’t your normal Bank Holiday weekend."

"It is not one for meeting up with friends and family or heading out for a day at the park. It is one where we continue to do our bit to protect the NHS by staying at home and saving lives."

– ohn Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health

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People are also being warned to stay away from visitor sites this weekend.

Severn Trent closed all of its visitor sites in March and is now reminding people to keep safe and stay away over the long Bank Holiday.

With the long weekend coming up, we know there will be a temptation for some people to use our sites as a place to have their one walk or cycle a day, but we’re really asking that everyone keeps away, for their own safety and the safety of our communities.

– Donna Marshall, Senior Visitor Engagement Officer

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