COVID 19 update statement from Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “The simple health advice is to stay at home and only leave home when it is absolutely essential. People are permitted to leave their homes for essential matters such as to seek medical assistance, obtain basic necessities including food and medical supplies, provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, donate blood, to attend a funeral of a member of the person’s household or close family member.
It is also reasonable to travel for the purpose of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services where it not reasonably possible for that person to work or provide those services from their home. Essential travel does not however include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar. People should stay in their main place of residence.
“I appreciate, as do my colleagues in An Garda Síochána, that the forthcoming bank holidays weekends are traditionally busy when people would visit family, or visit resorts or beauty spots however we have to remember, as has been said time and time again, that this is a health crisis not a holiday.
We need to behave differently and we all need to work together to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. We have been working closely with An Garda Síochána throughout the period of the restrictions and we will continue to do so in relation to an appropriate policing response and to coordinate our operational activity over both bank holiday weekends.
“We have a joint interest for people to stay at home and protect both our health services and save lives both sides of the border.
“It is encouraging that the vast majority of people are complying with the regulations. However, we have also seen evidence that a lot of people still are not taking the advice to stay at home and are not heeding our three Es – Engage, Explain and Encourage – and we have now issued 374 fines and 615 Community Resolution Notices directing people to behave differently.
“We will continue to conduct patrols and vehicle checkpoints and you will continue to see police patrols and checkpoints across Northern Ireland for example at beauty spots, on roads going to key resorts and in border areas to engage with the public to ensure that everyone understands and is adhering to the direction from our government.
If you don’t have a reasonable explanation for your travel, we will turn you back. We will continue to engage with people and explain what we need them to do and encourage them to follow the restrictions that are in place but for the small numbers of people who are continuing to ignore the restrictions, it is inevitable that we will have to move to enforcement through the issue of penalty notices but I would stress this is always a last resort.”