Don’t get complacent and keep pulling together, public is urged
Staffordshire Police, together with local authority leaders and fire chiefs across Stoke-on-Trent are urging people not to become complacent and “take their foot off the gas”.
The community leaders said they wanted people to continue to stay at home and save lives and exercise within a tight radius.
In Stoke-on-Trent, the city council’s trading standards officers have sent letters to all pubs across the city and are operating a zero tolerance approach to any found to be holding a lock in. The move came after the council received 54 complaints about 31 pubs since coronavirus legislation came into force last month.
The letter tells pubs they must stay closed, unless they have specific “off sales” conditions on their licence, which means they can supply alcohol providing they meet social distancing guidelines.
If they flout the guidelines, they can be prosecuted, receive a fine and/or lose both the licence for the premises and the licensee’s personal licence.
Pubs are advised that any customers would also be flouting restrictions, and may face the potential for police action.
The city council has also experienced problems with people still using playgrounds in the city.
Following Government guidance last month, all play areas were temporarily closed where physically possible and additional signs were put up to inform the public.
However, the council has been forced to replace the locks to one play area on three occasions after vandals smashed them.
Parents have also been lifting children over fences to get to the equipment at some play areas, even though the site is locked off. A tenant in Hanley, has been served with a community protection warning after he allowed people in to the block and to his flat, breaking the Covid-19 guidelines.
Following updated guidance from Government, the authority is to reopen Carmountside Cemetery on Saturday and Sunday and on public bank holidays during May between 8am and 5pm to enable residents to pay their respects to loved ones.
People are asked to maintain social distancing at all times and are being reminded not to participate in any activities not linked to the bereavement process such as dog walking or general exercise at the site. District cemeteries have remained open during the outbreak.
Coun Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “We will be entering the sixth week of the nationwide lockdown next week and we all have to continue taking it really seriously and not take our foot off the gas.
“You don’t need me to remind you there are hundreds of people dying every day in the country, but if we all work together, we can get through this.
“The Government has been clear that staying at home in lockdown is an instruction, not a request, and getting complacent at this stage even in the slightest could have deadly consequences for weeks to come.”
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant said: “It’s important people stay at home and stay safe. With more people at home, fire safety is as important as ever and businesses are being encouraged to review their fire safety precautions.
“Firefighters are doing their bit to support the vulnerable across Staffordshire and we must all pull together to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”