North Yorkshire police commissioner urges public not to come to county — as PM plans lockdown rule changes

Police stop a biker in the Yorkshire Dales. Photo: North Yorkshire Police.

North Yorkshire’s police commissioner has written an open letter to all potential visitors to North Yorkshire ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend urging them not to come as the Prime Minister prepares to announce rule changes to the lockdown on Sunday.

Allowing unlimited exercise, picnics and days our are among the changes being considered by the Government, according to reports.

But in the letter, Julia Mulligan says those considering a daytrip should know that nothing has currently changed and if they travel a long distance, they will be turned away.

Last weekend, 61 fines were issues last weekend by North Yorkshire Police to people flouting the warnings, advice and rules to stay away.

The commissioner said: “Thank you for considering North Yorkshire as a place to visit this Bank Holiday Weekend. It is no surprise you are thinking of travelling to see us given our beautiful coastline, stunning countryside and historic towns and villages. All of those will still be here when all this is over, but if you travel here you could put the people who make those places special at risk.

“Over the past few weeks, a minority have concluded the rules do not apply to them and have travelled substantial distances to North Yorkshire.

“Every week Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker, our Gold commander leading the response to COVID-19, pleads with people to remain in the safest place for them, and for others – at home.

Every week, on Monday, he has to report how the brave police officers and staff across the county have got out there, virus notwithstanding, to engage and encourage people to go home – and take enforcement action if they don’t.

“I know sometimes the message from others about travelling has not been as clear as it should have been, and that hugely frustrates me. But from us in North Yorkshire, it has – and remains – crystal clear. Exercise near your home. Do not make long journeys unless it’s an emergency. Keep the virus contained.

“This weekend, the Prime Minister will set out the roadmap to easing the restrictions we face. We do not know what he will say, but we do know that until then the current instructions remain. And they do not include taking a daytrip to North Yorkshire.

“Tonight we will, as we have every Thursday evening in recent weeks, applaud our key workers and thank them for their service. They deserve our support. They do not deserve to be put at risk or put under extra pressure by that minority of people travelling to North Yorkshire.  It’s not fair on them nor the vast majority of us who have followed the rules.

“One day soon I hope we will no longer need to say ‘stay away’. But for now, for this weekend, I say to anyone considering making a long journey to North Yorkshire – please don’t, please stay away.”