Alison Hernandez said she understood people’s frustrations around the continued need to stay at home most of the time due to Covid-19 regulations and backed Devon and Cornwall Police’s approach to enforcing the rules.
The Government says until the country emerges from lockdown people should minimise time spent outside the home, limit exercise to once a day and should not travel outside their local area.
The Commissioner has also repeated her #ComeBackLater message to those from outside the two counties who might be tempted to visit Devon and Cornwall during the school break, despite overnight stays being illegal.
“I have been balancing work with home schooling my daughter, which at times is a real struggle,” she said. “Like many we are desperate to get out and about, but must content ourselves with staying local for a bit longer. I’ve booked our annual Butlin’s trip for August with the aim of something to look forward and hope lockdowns will be over and tiers will allow this.
“More than 13m people have now received the vaccine and with spring nearly upon us brighter times are ahead. I recognise that the vast majority of parents of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have made significant sacrifice over many months to keep our area as one of the safest places in the country to live, and am sure they will be prepared to see it through until unlock.”
She supports Devon and Cornwall Police’s approach to half term, which includes supplying additional patrol cars to respond to complaints of Covid-19 breaches.
“There are a small number of people who are flouting the rules and risking that recovery,” she added. “I speak to people in communities where these visits are causing distress and anxiety and therefore give my full support to Devon and Cornwall Police when enforcement is necessary.”
Areas of concern in the Westcounty include popular moorland and seaside locations where local residents says visitors have been gathering.
The #ComeBackLater message was repeated by tourism businesses, local authorities and police last year before many businesses were able to open to visitors for key summer months. The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Summer Scheme pioneered Covid-19 wardens in visitor hotspots and funded signage to support local businesses.
Anyone breaking the rules can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If people hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.
Breaches of Covid-19 regulations can be reported online at devon-cornwall.police.uk or over the phone by calling 101.