Police have today offered advice to a man from Birmingham who had travelled to the Staffordshire Moorlands to exercise.
People have been asked by police and Staffordshire County Council not to drive out to North Staffordshire beauty spots due to restrictions on movement imposed by the government due to the COVID-19 pandemic – with concerns warmer weather this weekend would lead to more people carrying out unnecessary travel.
The man was spoken to in Ilam, near the Derbyshire border, earlier today (Saturday April 4).
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “Moorlands officers patrolling the rural areas. Out in Ilam unfortunately we have had to offer advice to a motorist from Birmingham who thought it was acceptable to travel for his exercise. Stay at home. We are in this together.”
Chief Inspector Mark Thorley, of the Staffordshire Moorlands Neighbourhood Policing Team, has taken to Twitter several times in recent days to urge people not to travel to the beauty spots and country parks in Staffordshire.
Today he added: “Many who are travelling out are thinking only of themselves and not realising it’s as much about what they may bring with them as what they may take home.”
The UK death toll from coronavirus has today risen to 4,313 – with 212 deaths reported in the Midlands.
At today’s government briefing, Michael Gove said people should continue to observe social distancing and exercise close to home.
When asked about people being tempted to break the social distancing rules during the sunny weather this weekend, Mr Gove said: “When we look at the death rate, the number of increasing fatalities, when we consider the pressure on our NHS, everyone has to ask themselves the question: ‘What am I doing to relieve pressure on the NHS, how am I helping in this shared national effort?’.
“I know that lockdown is challenging, I know it’s very difficult, particularly for families with children.
“But people must at every stage respect these guidelines because that is the only way of making sure we restrict the spread of the disease.”
He said police have the power to legally enforce the rules, and continued: “But it’s vital that all of us recognise if we weigh up an hour or two outside, and weigh it against the lives of those we love and the lives of those on the NHS front line, it should be clear I hope to all that we should follow the advice.”
Professor Steve Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said he would “plea to every member of the public to follow the instructions that they have been provided with”.
He added: “It’s the lives and the health of all of us, our friends, our relatives, your friends, your relatives, that depend upon us following these instructions.
“This is the time we need to make sure we stick to that guidance and don’t deviate from it.”
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