Ernie Clark. Hilperton Division, Wiltshire Council.

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Thursday August 27, 2020 Mass gatherings.

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No, not a church mass!

New measures in place to tackle mass gatherings as residents reminded to follow guidance this Bank Holiday

Wiltshire Council has urged residents not to fall foul of new laws intended to target the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions.

From tomorrow (Friday, 28 August), tougher measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 will come into force.

People facilitating or organising illegal raves, unlicensed music events or any other unlawful gathering of 30 people or more may face a £10,000 fine. Fines of £100 can continue to be issued to those who participate in illegal gatherings and those who have already received a fine will see the amount doubled on each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

In light of these new measures coming into force, and with the August Bank Holiday this weekend, the council is urging residents to continue to practice social distancing and to ensure they don’t fall foul of the new measures.

Kate Blackburn, Wiltshire Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “ The majority of people in Wiltshire have done brilliantly to stick to the guidance and keep themselves and each other safe during this time.

“Mass gatherings threaten to undermine so many people’s great efforts over the past five months so these new measures send out a clear message they are not acceptable at the moment – we need everyone’s support with this over the Bank Holiday weekend and beyond.

“We ask that everyone keeps following the guidance closely and not to get complacent, so that we can keep COVID-19 under control in Wiltshire.”

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said: “Firstly, I would like to thank our communities in Wiltshire and Swindon for continuing to take personal responsibility for their actions in the fight against COVID.

“As we approach the Bank Holiday weekend, I know the temptation might be there to start taking a more relaxed approach to the regulations which have been put in place by the Government.

“However, it is vital that we all continue to respect the guidance on social distancing and ensure we are all wearing face coverings where mandated to do so. This week tougher penalties have come into place for those who organise, facilitate or attend any large gathering or unlicensed music event. These types of unlawful events place the public at a high level of risk and are likely to spread the virus, if we come across these types of events we will actively look to use our powers

“Coronavirus is still a deadly threat and it should be everyone’s priority to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

“Our officers, staff and volunteers will be out in our communities across the long weekend and will continue to engage with the public to encourage compliance with the legislation.

“If anyone has information about a large gathering or event, please contact us on 101 as soon as you can.

“We hope you all have a safe and restful Bank Holiday weekend.”

People are being asked to stay at home, even if they have mild symptoms of coronavirus, namely: a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change to people’s sense of smell or taste. Crucially, anyone who has any symptoms must book a test and not leave home for at least 10 days. Those living in households should self-isolate for 14 days if they or any members of the household receive a positive test.