Harrogate residents urged to stick to social distancing rules as good weather set to draw crowds

A North Yorkshire Police chief has warned people they must still be careful as the district’s beauty spots start to fill up with visitors once again.

Friday, 19th June 2020, 12:30 pm

It comes after a weekend of warm weather brought people into Harrogate’s parks and green spaces to meet up with friends and family - with the same expected this weekend as temperatures soar.

Valley Gardens was filled with groups soaking up the sunshine last weekend, enjoying picnics following the easing of the lockdown restrictions.

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People have been enjoying picnics in the sun following the easing of some lockdown restrictions - but officials are warning we must stick to social distancing rules.

But people are now being reminded that social distancing rules must be adhered to and guidelines followed ahead of another sunny weekend.

It comes after non-essential businesses have also been allowed to reopen their doors and Harrogate’s high street has been busy with shoppers.

Safety signs have been put up, footpaths have been widened and ‘ambassadors’ are out on the streets to help shoppers keep safe.

But Mike Walker, North Yorkshire Police’s assistant chief constable, says the spread of the virus won’t be kept under control unless people follow the physical distancing rules.

“As more and more restrictions are lifted and communities come back to life, personal responsibility is now key to controlling the virus,” he said.

“We urge everyone to look after themselves and their loved ones, remember that the virus has still not gone away, keep in mind the purpose of the existing restrictions and regulations and stay safe.”

In May, police officers were stripped of their powers to enforce the two-metre social distancing rule.

And since lockdown measures were eased by Prime Minister Boris Johnson - making it possible for people to travel anywhere in England - it has become even harder for police to enforce the law.

Officers have instead been focusing their efforts on breaking up large social gatherings which are not allowed.

Assistant chief constable Mike Walker said officers will continue encouraging people to follow the latest guidelines, with enforcement only being used as a “last resort”.

In a series of safety measures, social distancing signs have been put up in towns across the district.

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