Officers have said that there is more traffic on the roads compared to the first lockdown. Over the weekend, police have had to deal with hundreds of people flouting lockdown rules by leaving their localised areas to visit Cumbria.
Assistant Chief Constable of Cumbria Constabulary, Andy Slattery, revealed that officers spoke to 559 for breaking the restrictions while handing out 68 fixed Penalty Notices according to Lancashire Live. Breaches that were reported by the police were locals travelling from towns in vehicles with more than one household. As well as this, people travelled from places such as Sheffield, Northamptonshire, Newcastle and Bradford to Cumbria for exercise.
Mr Slattery said: “The roads are certainly busier. The lockdown is not as strict as it was the first time around, there are a lot more people at work. There are a lot more pupils at school. But over the weekend we have seen an increase this week in breaches of lockdown.
There are reports of people staying in holiday homes, although this is said to have started to decrease. Mr Slattery said that this issue “was much less of an issue this weekend. The main issue this weekend as people travelling in vehicles in multiple households to exercise in the Lake District.
“Last weekend we had over 200 reports of people staying in holiday homes against the regulations. Thankfully that’s slowed down now, so over this weekend it has been very much quieter but overall breaches have gone up.
“We dealt with 559 individuals, all breaching the regulations to some extent. We engaged with those and we issued 68 Fixed Penalty Notices so only 10 per cent of the people that we deal with have ended up with a Fixed Penalty ticket but the numbers of people breaching it are increasing.
“Now not all of those were visitors, some were locals travelling from local towns but obviously if you get more than one household travelling in the same vehicle, that’s meeting indoors and is against the regulations. And clearly travelling from, and some people did, from Sheffield, from Northamptonshire from Newcastle from Bradford, travelling together in the same vehicle for a long period of time trying to do exercise, well, of course, that presents a risk of people catching the virus from each other.”
Mr Slattery discussed how the severity of the situation in Cumbria with increasing Covid-19 patients across hospitals.
He said: “We are still in a very serious situation and hopefully we will see the case numbers start to reduce from this lockdown that we are going through now but the issue is there will still be a delay in the reduction in hospital admissions.
“Nationally at its height there 18,000 in-patients with Covid in England. There are now 30,000. That’s the scale of the increase this time round. Our hospitals are under much more pressure than they were last time. Carlisle Hospital has over 200 patients with Covid and the last peak it was only around 150 so we are in a very serious situation.”
Asked on the rate of infection rates, he said: “I said I expected them to start to slow down and stabilise as this lockdown takes effect. The issue is there is still a delay because even when case rates slow down hospital admissions continue to rise.”