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Police begin stopping drivers and pedestrians

Police have today confirmed that they have begun to stop people in Orkney and are asking why they are out and about, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This has includes stopping drivers.

Speaking today, Sergeant Simon Hay said: “The fundamental principle of policing in Scotland is by consent and we will use discretion where we can.

“It is awful that it has come to a situation where some people are not heeding the advice from the government, in light of the threat from the coronavirus.

“As the First Minister has said, we will be taking a soft approach to enforcement but we will have the power to act if necessary.

“We will be able to issue on-the-spot fines and ultimately refer to the courts for prosecution.

“With there being no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus here in Orkney, there may be some conception that the local police are not going to follow the same rules as our colleagues throughout the rest of Scotland. That is wrong.

“Most people are abiding by the measures but there are still some people going out for their daily shop. You are not to be going down the street every day as part of your daily routine. You are only to be going to the shop when absolutely necessary. If it is not absolutely necessary you should be staying in your house.

“It is not okay to be visiting an elderly relative if it is a social call. You are only to drop off food or vital supplies. You can’t stay for a cup of tea.

“I heard that one person said ‘they survived the war; they could survive this.’ This is very different. One bullet kills one person. If someone gets COVID-19, they have to think about all the people they are putting at risk — the multiple nurses that would help them, the doctors, surgeons and others. If the ill person passes away that puts even more at risk, such as police officers, undertakers and others.

“It’s the ramifications of getting the disease that people have to remember.”

The government guidance is clear — people should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions — even when doing these activities, people should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring they are two metres apart from anyone outside of their household.

Sergeant Hay reiterated the current measures around the pandemic and has asked people to ask themselves, before they leave their house: “Is this trip absolutely necessary?”

He said, if the answer to this is no, that person should not be leaving the house.

“We live in an excellent community. Everyone is pulling together. The number of people volunteering is outstanding. Our supermarkets and local businesses are doing a fantastic job. If we all following the guidelines we can and will beat this virus.”

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