Coronavirus: Police chief's weekend warning as people told to stay indoors

People in the West Country have been urged to stay indoors this weekend even if the weather is nice - or face police punishment.

The rules from the Government, which came into force on Monday (March 23), state you may only leave your home for four reasons:

  • 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

  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

A spot check being conducted in central Bristol. Credit: PA

In order to enforce the restrictions, officers have been conducting spot checks across the region to ensure drivers are complying - including Bristol, Plymouth, Penzance and Cullompton.

  • Watch ITV West Country reporter Richard Payne's full report on Avon and Somerset Police patrolling Bath:

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, of Devon and Cornwall Police, has since issued a warning - reminding people to either heed the advice or risk being fined.

Last weekend, a number of people decided to make the most of the sunny weather by visiting West Country tourist attractions - including Weston-super-Mare beach and Tregantle beach in Cornwall.

Although prior to the lockdown, pictures of crowds of people out enjoying the sunshine prompted a backlash on social media.

Chief Constable Sawyer also said that those people who do not comply with the restrictions over the weekend face potential punishments - including fines.

The RNLI has also announced it is pulling its lifeguards off beach patrols, in response to the lockdown.

The charity said it hopes this will deter members of the public from visiting beaches this weekend, or any other, while restrictions are in place.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the West Country, including case numbers, event cancellations and venue closures, click here.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know