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Frequently Asked Questions

New regulations

On Wednesday 13 May, the government implemented some easing of restrictions.

What can I do that I couldn’t do before?

There are a limited number of things you can now do that you could not do before:

  • spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors - following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish - following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying two metres apart
  • go to a garden centre

At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are two metres away from anyone outside your household. As with before, you cannot:

  • visit friends and family in their homes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • visit a private or ticketed attraction
  • gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household), except for a few specific exceptions set out in law (for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations)

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

I don’t have to stay at home anymore?

You should stay at home as much as possible. The reasons you may leave home include:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open - to get things like food and medicine
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

These reasons are exceptions and a fuller list is set out in the regulations. Even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent away from the home and ensuring that you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

Enforcement

How will you enforce the new rules?

The police and local authorities have the powers to enforce the requirements set out in law if people do not comply with them. The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures, but if you breach the law, the police may instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse, and they may instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so. The police can also take you home or arrest you where they believe it is necessary.

If the police believe that you have broken the law – or if you refuse to follow their instructions enforcing the law – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice of £100 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days), an increase of £40 from the previous £60 fixed penalty amount. If you have already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount for further offences will increase in line with the table below.

First offence £100
Second offence £200
Third offence £400
Fourth offence £800
Fifth offence £1600
Maximum penalty £3200

For both individuals and companies, if you do not pay your fine you could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

Are you enforcing enough?

Our approach here in Lincolnshire is to engage, explain encourage and enforce – the latter is a last resort and only if necessary. Police in the UK police by consent, and we work with the public to achieve our joint goals. This stance is paying off, and the vast majority of the public are complying with the rules. We are and will continue to enforce the legislation where it is necessary to do so, especially if people repeatedly ignore the rules.

Is your approach the same across the county? That is, are you policing rural and urban areas in the same way?

Our response is based on information and intelligence, and assessed on possible threat, risk and harm; so while our stance is the same across the county our response may differ in different areas because that will be dictated by the specific scenarios in these locations. We are taking action right the way across the county. Information from the public helps us greatly, so if you believe we are missing a location please tell us.

As much as we would like to be, we can’t be everywhere all of the time so are doing our best to respond to live incidents where and when we can.

People are relaxing their lockdown – what are you doing about this?

We are continuing to police the lockdown as we have been so far because we’ve found that our communities, in the main, have responded really well. This means that we will engage, explain, and encourage. Where people refuse to take action we will enforce. A big part of this is encouraging people to be socially responsible and make sure that they look after other people, as well as themselves, by following government advice. Where we receive information that people are not complying with the national guidance we will do our best to attend in live time and resolve the situation. We are also working with partner agencies to keep certain locations closed to prevent temptation.

Can you enforce the two-metre social distancing rule?

Since the Prime Minister made amendments to the restrictions on Wednesday 13 May, the police have no powers to enforce two-metre distancing in England.

Regulation breaches

My neighbours are having a garden party – what can I do?

We welcome reports made to us of any behaviour that might be disruptive or anti-social and where we can we will take appropriate action in relation to those reports. If we can get to those reports in live time we will. The main message is that people who might be participating in those activities are putting themselves and others at risk and it is surprising and disappointing that they are not listening to government advice.

What are you doing to tackle groups of people gathering?

We have had challenges in some town centres in getting to places at the exact time when people are gathering. We have been putting out response officers, PCSOs, Specials and Community Cohesion officers but we can’t be there 100% of the time. When we are there we’ve enforced as appropriate. We are also working with partners to make sure people understand the central advice and we’ve had lots of communications in different languages to help spread the message more widely.

Exercise

How often can I exercise outside my home?

Government advice states that you can exercise outdoors as often as you wish.  But you must follow social distancing guidelines and stay at least two metres away from people who are not from your household.

Can I meet my friends and family in the park?

You can meet one other person from outside your household if you are outdoors. Public gatherings of more than two people from different households are prohibited in law. There are no limits on gatherings in the park with members of your household.

Are there restrictions on how far I can travel for my exercise or outdoor activity?

No. You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance. You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practise social distancing - for example by cycling. Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home is not allowed.

Can I go fishing?

You can go fishing but only if you do so alone or with members of your household and you maintain two metre social distancing from others.

Cycling

Cyclists should always aim to stay off footpaths, they are however allowed on bridleways. There does need to be an element of common sense in these circumstances, bikes should be equipped with bells, and so could give warning. You should try and maintain social distancing, and it is the responsibility of all to do their utmost to observe this.

Can I walk my dog or ride my horse?

Yes because this can be counted as exercise and also is beneficial for the health and welfare of the animal.

Can I hang my washing out?

Yes, as long as you are social distancing from anyone who does not live in your household.

Students and accommodation

Can students move/collect their things once term is over?

House moves are within the rules, so if an individual’s term has finished, and it is necessary to collect belongings, this would seem to be reasonable. They should attend alone, or with one person from their household (if they cannot drive) and maintain social distancing whilst collecting their belongings.

Roads and driving

Are you putting up road blocks or pulling people over?

We are not putting up roadblocks and, where appropriate, we will pull people over. We are constantly monitoring the roads and we have a number of different ways in which we can do this. The vast majority of people are complying with the rules and therefore there is no necessity to do more at this current time. Just because you don’t always see a police officer, does not mean we are not present, or are unable to monitor remotely.

The roads are a busy in my local area – what are you doing about it?

Where we think it is necessary we will pull people over and talk to them about the journey they are making. People are allowed to travel for these reasons:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open - to get things like food and medicine
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

Speeding

While most people are following government guidance to make only essential journeys, we are seeing some irresponsible drivers and riders taking advantage of the emptier roads.

Our specialist operations officers are on patrol, both in cars and motorbikes, marked and unmarked and we will enforce speed limits on our roads.

We all need to do everything we can to reduce the burden on the NHS and by making only essential journeys and taking extra care when driving or riding we can help reduce the chance of having a collision or coming to harm while on the roads.

Personal Protective Equipment

Do you have good supply of PPE in force?

Surgical masks have been delivered to every police station, are in every police car and every officer in the county has their own. We have about 80,00 held in reserve.  You may see officers putting on the masks if they are dealing with someone who has Coronavirus symptoms, and that that is to keep those officers but also the public safe. We also have further PPE in the form of aprons, gloves and goggles for when needed. We also have ample stocks of handwash to ensure  we are maintaining regular handwashing because we know this is vital in helping fight off Covid-19.

Physical or mental health needs

I or someone in my family benefits from being outdoors – is that permitted?

Government advice allows you to take unlimited exercise outdoors. It is reasonable that you seek time outdoors but please make sure this is line with government guidelines. Please do be very practical about how you’re doing this and make sure you maintain social distancing.

Can I go and pick someone up who is unwell?

Making journeys is all about the need. If the person that you need to pick up cannot independently travel to you then this is permitted. Please plan ahead and make sure you don’t come into contact with anyone.   

Support

What support exists?

If you need help or support during this pandemic, or you would like to volunteer to help others please visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk or call Lincolnshire County Council’s dedicated hotline, 01522 782189.

You can also get support if you feel you need it by calling a new confidential mental health helpline that has been set up by Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust. Specially trained staff can support 24/7 with feelings of low mood, anxiety and stress, call 0800 001 4331 or visit the NHS website: www.lpft.nhs.uk/contact-us.

14 May 20 8:40 AM

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