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Follow the lockdown rules and stay local this half-term

Residents across Cornwall are being urged to steer clear of public places that could become crowded this half-term and keep following the lockdown rules. 

Cornwall Council’s Public Health team is warning that traditional holiday hotspots could become Covid-hotspots if people flock to them next week. 

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These include parks, playgrounds and beaches where car parks may become busy, and coastal paths which force people into close proximity as they pass each other.  

People are also asked to think twice about making unnecessary trips to supermarkets and other retail outlets which may attract more people than usual over the break. 

Meeting up with multiple friends and family is not permitted, unless your bubble allows it, so children’s play dates and social gatherings sadly remain off-limits for now. 

Councillor Sally Hawken, Portfolio Holder for Children, Wellbeing and Public Health, said: “The rate of transmission in Cornwall has been steadily decreasing since the national lockdown began in January which is testament to everyone’s commitment to keeping Covid at bay. 

“But if we drop our guard this half-term break then we could let the virus, and its new variants, regain control and send our case numbers soaring again. Needless to say, this would again put our health services and valiant front-line workers under huge pressure yet again and we can’t afford to let that happen.” 

Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, added: “Of course school holidays should be a time for people to get out and about and visit family and friends. But we’re asking people to put these plans on hold, hopefully just for a matter of months, until the Government deems it safe to start lifting some of the restrictions. 

“This third lockdown has been especially tough for many people in Cornwall and I’d like to thank everyone for sticking to the rules and doing all they can to stop this awful virus for spreading out of control. 

“We just need to carry on doing what we’ve been doing to protect our most vulnerable residents and we’ll come out the other side of this together.” 

Cornwall Council and Devon and Cornwall Police is reminding people that they should not be coming to Cornwall for a holiday or to stay in a second home. 

Chief Superintendent Jim Pearce said: “The vast majority of our communities have been compliant with regulations throughout the pandemic – that co-operation is valued and we’d ask it to continue. 

“We know there is anxiety in some of our communities regarding second home owners visiting Cornwall and we continue to work with Cornwall Council to monitor this closely.  

“We will review all reports which indicate COVID-19 breaches of legislation and where necessary, we have dedicated resources to assist partners to carry out enforcement.” 

Cornwall Council’s Covid enforcement team will be carrying out checks to ensure that businesses, including holiday accommodation providers, are complying with the current restrictions. 

For the time being, non-essential business and those providing close contact services, such as hairdressers, barbers and beauticians must remain closed.  Hospitality businesses are also restricted to providing takeaway services only. 

During the first week of February, Cornwall Council’s Covid Enforcement team asked 19 non-essential business settings to close, gave 40 advisory warnings and served one fixed penalty notice, which carries a £1,000 fine.

Councillor Rob Nolan, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection, said: “We know this is an incredibly difficult time for businesses but we cannot be complacent now.  

“Our enforcement team will continue supporting businesses and checking they are complying with the current rules throughout the half-term holidays. 

“Please stay local to your area, follow the rules and help keep our communities safe.” 

Businesses can find support and guidance regarding the latest restrictions on the Business Regulatory Support website.  

If you are concerned that a business is operating illegally during lockdown, you can report it via the Cornwall Council website. 

For more on the rules and guidance visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/coronavirus 

To ease pressure on the NHS, anyone who needs urgent but not emergency care is urged to think 111 first. Using the NHS 111 service either online – www.111.nhs.uk or calling 111 – will mean that if someone does need to go to a minor injury unit or the emergency department, the teams there will know they are coming and can manage the way people come into the departments.