Police thank Harrogate residents after ultra-quiet Easter weekend but condemn BBQ gatherings

North Yorkshire Police have thanked the public after the four-day Easter weekend as the force reported a much quieter county than expected.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 1:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 1:36 pm
A pleasing sight to North Yorkshire Police - A traffic-free, empty A64 road near York at the Easter weekend.

They said they had been "humbled" by the public's good response to stay indoors, especially in avoiding the seaside resorts on the east coast but, they warned, a small minority had been flouting the rules to meet friends or family or, even, host barbecues.

In general, police officers on patrol across Harrogate district and North Yorkshire over the four days reported quieter seafronts, beauty spots, towns and cities, which would usually be crowded with visitors at this time of year.

A small minority of people continued to ignore the restrictions, however, and the force responded to reports of pockets of groups gathering, including a small number of BBQs and house parties, with the majority of reports coming in on Good Friday.

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Mike Walker, North Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable and Gold commander leading the response to the outbreak, said: “North Yorkshire’s roads, beautiful national parks, coastlines, beauty spots and picturesque towns and cities would usually be bustling at this time of year – but we were very pleased to see the county so quiet over the long weekend.

“It’s humbling to see so many local people are listening and doing the right thing by staying home, protecting the NHS and saving lives and I once again want to thank each and every person who is following the Government’s guidance and is taking it seriously."

“Unfortunately, a small number of people deemed it appropriate to continue with their plans to see people from outside their household – be it BBQs or visiting friends or relatives – and I would reiterate to this minority that by ignoring the guidance, you are putting the lives of vulnerable people at risk, and not least your own friends and family members."

Although the police's approach was to work with the community, it served a strong reminder to everyone to stick to the rules.

Assistant Chief Constable Walker said: “Our officers were on patrol across the county and reported people, for the most part, complying with the guidance and engaging with them positively, showing support for their efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“Our approach has always been to engage, explain and encourage members of the public to adhere to the guidelines and only use enforcement if we have to.

“We are incredibly grateful to our local communities. We appreciate their patience, resilience and respect and ask them to simply continue in that same manner. And please remember that policing continues and we are here for you if you need us.”

"But, under government regulations, you should only leave the house for very limited purposes."

North Yorkshire Police Guidelines On Leaving Your House

People should only leave the house in the following circumstances

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.

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