POLICE are urging residents in North Yorkshire to have "cautious optimism" as the country continues to move out of the third national lockdown on Monday.

It was announced earlier this week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that lockdown restrictions will be eased further across the country on May 17.

The new measures will allow groups of up to 30 people to meet outdoors, as well as hospitality, such as pubs and restaurants, and entertainment, such as cinemas and theatres, venues opening inside - where the 'rule of six' will continue to apply. People will also be able to stay overnight at hotels and other accommodation.

Chief inspector Charlotte Bloxham, North Yorkshire Police’s operational lead for the pandemic, said: “It is very pleasing that the Road Map Out of Lockdown is going according to plan and we can move with confidence to 'Step 3' on Monday.

“It is still important to keep following the key safety measures of washing hands, wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance when out in public or using public transport, and getting as much fresh air into your lungs and home as possible.

“The police will only take action against those who blatantly flout the health protection regulations.

“Our officers and staff will continue to provide a reassuring presence in our communities, especially in those locations which are expected to be very busy with tourists.

“On Monday, we are about to reach a significant point in the easing of the restrictions. We can see the 'Step 4' finishing line ahead of us on June 21, when it is hoped all remaining restrictions will be lifted.

“It is a time for cautious optimism, but it is also a time to be sensible and to behave in a responsible way.

“We must not jeopardise the many months of collective effort, struggle and sacrifice which has brought us ever closer to a more normal way of living.”

Over the past week, police only had to issue eight fixed penalty notices (FPNs) - which all related to an indoor gathering in Scarborough at the weekend.