Merseyside Police clarify new COVID rules ahead of Easter weekend

This Easter weekend, police will be patrolling popular outdoor destinations across Merseyside to offer guidance on the latest coronavirus restrictions in England.

Following a number of recent reports of anti-social behaviour this week – particularly in coastline areas – officers will be working alongside local authorities to support residents, encourage safe travel and parking, and help prevent incidents of anti-social behaviour to ensure people of all ages can enjoy our outdoor beauty spots safely.

The public are reminded that alcohol is prohibited at Formby, Crosby and Ainsdale beaches.

On Tuesday 30 March, several reports were received of large groups of youths travelling to Formby beach, and reports people were consuming alcohol and some starting small fires. Upon the arrival of patrols the group dispersed. A Dispersal Zone was introduced in the area, which will continue to run until 7pm on Thursday 1 April – giving officers powers to direct people they suspect are causing or likely to cause crime, nuisance or anti-social behaviour to leave a designated area and not return for up to 48 hours.  

As the ‘rule of six’ has now returned, it is expected that people will be keen to catch up with family and friends outdoors over Easter – with a maximum of six people in total, or any number of people from only two households.

Children of all ages do count as part of the group of six, and the mixing of households indoors is still not permitted.

In partnership with local authorities and the NHS, Merseyside Police has an extensive policing plan in place to help protect public health across our region. Anyone who officers find gathering in large groups or mixing indoors will be dealt with appropriately and face enforcement action.

Chief Inspector Peter Clark said: “After a long winter it’s understandable that people want to get outside and mix with loved ones, particularly in good weather, but we would like everyone to follow the coronavirus restrictions that remain in place.

“Please remember to social distance in outdoor areas, including parks, open spaces and coastline beauty spots, as crowded areas are more likely to risk a resurgence in coronavirus. If you’re going out, please park legally and respect any residents who live in the area.

“Those who do not social distance, who gather in larger groups and engage in anti-social behaviour not only risk spoiling the experience for everyone else, but risk setting us back as we look to move out of the challenging period we have all faced in the past 12 months. 

“Officers will continue to patrol on foot and in vehicles across Merseyside to ensure people are aware of the rules and meeting up as safely as possible. 

“It’s important that we continue to follow Public Health guidelines to avoid any delay in the easing of restrictions in future – so thank you to everyone for all they have done to reduce the spread of Covid-19 so far.”

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