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COVID Marshals crackdown on those flouting COVID-19 restrictions

Police car at The Look Out

COVID Marshals have been out in full force over the past 2 weekends to remind people that they must follow lockdown rules to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and to avoid being hit with a hefty fine.

Under current COVID-19 restrictions, which are there to keep us safe, people are permitted to leave home for essential reasons. Daily exercise in a local setting is allowed either alone, with your household, support bubble or with one person from another household. Frustratingly some people are knowingly and persistently breaking these rules by meeting in large groups in popular places such as parks, which risks further spread of the virus.

COVID Marshals were joined by officers from the Thames Valley Police to challenge groups of people at The Look Out who had met to socialise in Swinley Forest.

To make sure the ‘stay at home’ message had the widest possible reach, an ad bike was hired to cycle a loop from Westmorland Park in Warfield to The Look Out in southern Bracknell. The bike passed through at least 16 green spaces popularly used by residents, including Lily Hill Park and South Hill Park. The council is also taking action to reduce people travelling to the borough to use The Look Out outdoor playground, with only local residents able to book places.

Cllr John Harrison, Executive Member for Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection said:

“We are taking a zero-tolerance approach on those who are found to be knowingly and repeatedly breaking the rules.

“Times are tough and we know that people are fed up with COVID, but this is not the time to get complacent, particularly with the new strain of the virus being more transmissible. While figures are moving in the right direction, the virus still poses a big threat to lives and to our local communities.

“We are fortunate to have some fantastic green spaces in the borough and understandably people are wishing to visit these for fresh air and exercise, but residents must follow the rules, stay local, and keep their distance. Walk or cycle from home where possible and if a park is busy, change your plans to visit at a quieter time. Anybody found to be breaking these rules will find themselves hit with a hefty fine.

“We all need to do our bit by staying at home and following the rules when out for essential reasons to protect our borough, the NHS and to save lives.”