RESIDENTS have been warned that if they are outside their home without a reasonable excuse, or gather indoors or outdoors with others, they could be fined of up to £200.

The warning has been issued by North Yorkshire Police following the start of the new national lockdown.

Superintendent Mike Walker, gold lead for the force's Covid-19 response, said: “The new national restrictions are now in force and everyone in England should be following the new guidance to stay at home.

“The new restrictions mean that people should only leave home where necessary; for essential shopping, to work if you cannot work from home, to exercise locally with only one other person outside your household, to meet your support bubble or childcare bubble, to seek medical assistance, to avoid harm or to attend education or childcare if eligible.

“Rules around indoor and outdoor social gatherings have been strengthened further and people should not be meeting socially with anyone outside of their household or support bubble.

“Under these new regulations, if you are outside of your home without a reasonable excuse, or gathering indoors or outdoors with others, the police can take enforcement action against you and you can be fined up to £200.

“I would also stress that it is important to stay as close to home as possible. While exercise is permitted, this should be done in your local area, preferably from your doorstep.

“To those who do not live locally, who were thinking of making a journey or day-trip to North Yorkshire to access our open spaces, I would ask you not to make that journey. You should stay close to home and exercise in your own local area.

“The new restrictions have been put in place to limit people’s movements in order to suppress the spread of a deadly virus. If you travel further than is essential, you are putting yourself and those communities you visit at risk of contracting this virus. So please, stay in your own local area.”

“Our patrol plans have been revised and we have increased our presence and visibility, to provide reassurance to our communities. Members of the public will see us on the roads and patrolling local areas and beauty spots.

“We will continue to follow our now well-established 4 e’s approach – engaging with the public, explaining the rules, encouraging adherence and enforcing where necessary and proportionate to do so.

“I’m aware that the weeks ahead will be challenging, but we know why we are being asked to stay at home and what we must do to save lives. Our health service is at a crucial point and as a nation we face a very serious situation, so it’s vital that we stick to the rules and stop the spread of the virus.

“If we can unite now, we can turn the tide on this virus. By taking immediate action and getting this virus under control, coupled with the increasing roll out of the vaccination programme, we can all start to look to 2021 with hope and optimism.”