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Royal Borough deputy leader urges people to respect new lockdown rules

A councillor has urged people to be ‘cautious’ after new coronavirus lockdown measures were announced.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined a conditional plan to get England out of lockdown, which was published in a 50-page document this week.

The country has been in lockdown since March 23 and the UK has suffered more than 32,000 deaths related to COVID-19.

New measures – from Wednesday – entitle people to more outdoor exercise, and the ability to meet one other person from a separate household – as long as they socially distance and it is outside.

This is step one in a three-step plan to ease the country back to normality, with the phased reopening of shops potentially taking place later this year.

The Royal Borough’s deputy leader and lead member for leisure services, Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton and Castle), urged people to respect the rules.

“It is good to hear that the measures everyone in the country has been taking are working, and have managed to get the ‘R’ [rate of infection] down below one,” she said.

“It is a sign that everyone, especially in the Royal Borough, have been very good at following the Government guidelines.

“We have to be cautious at this time, because we do not want it to go back to what it was before.”

She added: “We have to give people some control of their own lives.

“I really hope people do respect the rules because the consequences are that we go backwards.

“It is important that people do not go back to life as normal – but they see it as a beginning of a next step.

“Obviously the borough will take all the [government] measures seriously and try to make sure they are adhered to.”

The Government has changed its ‘stay at home’ slogan to ‘stay alert’ for people in England – advice not taken by the other three UK nations.

Thames Valley Police said it will not yet be releasing a statement regarding the policing of these new regulations, but the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said it’s ‘approach will continue’.

NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said: “We are all now able to spend much more time outdoors and each of us need to take responsibility for doing that within the social restrictions set out by the government.

“Our approach will continue: use common sense and discretion, and to engage, explain, encourage and, only as a last resort, enforce.”

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