Stewards to patrol Blackpool streets to enforce rules

Blackpool will be patrolled by stewards and public protection officers this weekend to ensure people are following coronavirus rules, the council said.

A taskforce of more than 60 stewards will take to the town centre streets and promenade.

The stewards, employed by the council, will give advice to businesses, residents and visitors about coronavirus rules and regulations.

People in the town are currently banned from socialising with other households.

Councillor Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said stewards and officers would be “highly visible” and would work with businesses and the public “to provide guidance and support to ensure that all relevant local and national restrictions are being adhered to”.

While she said enforcement “is the last resort”, she added “it will be used if anyone is found to be deliberately flouting the rules and putting people at risk”.

Dr Arif Rajpura, director of public health for Blackpool Council, said: “Now more than ever is not the time to be complacent.”

He said while there was “no evidence of any direct links” between increased infection rates and tourism, the council would continue “to put a high level of focus on ensuring that visitors and businesses do the right thing”.

“Given the implicit threat of more restrictions if the spread of the virus is not contained, it is vitally important that everyone plays their part,” he said.

Ch Insp Mark Morley, of Lancashire Police, said: “Our officers will continue to be out and about and very visible in key areas – please remember we are here to keep everyone safe.

“We’ll continue to engage with people and explain the rules, but we do want to be clear that we will enforce them where we need to, especially around repeat offenders, significant gatherings and people who deliberately flout the regulations and put others at risk.”

After the weekend, the taskforce will be called upon when required to enforce the latest legislation, a council spokesman said.

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