Police have been out in force issuing fines to those who’ve travelled into Tier 2 areas to visit pubs, as Christmas restrictions have been ramped up across the country.
In York, which is currently under Tier 2 Covid restrictions, police say they have likely issued more than 150 fines to people who visited the city to socialise indoors.
Restaurants and bars which serve food in the city have been open in York, while other cities and towns in the region, such as Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster and Hull are largely shuttered.
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North Yorkshire police say this has led to large numbers of people travelling from neighbouring areas in Tier 3 to get around the restrictions, with one senior officer saying these people “believe their pint is more important than someone’s life.”
Superintendent Mike Walker said, “Looking at the numbers of fines handed out this weekend, which are still awaiting processing, we believe that we have handed out over 160 tickets, with the vast majority being issued to Tier 3 residents who visited York to mix and socialise indoors, which is in clear breach of their restrictions.
“Where we encounter people who refuse to adhere to the regulations and believe their pint is more important than someone’s life, we will use our enforcement powers.
“Some people who were spoken to by officers did go home. However, our teams encountered large numbers of people who were not responsive to the advice, leaving us no option but to enforce through the use of fixed penalty notices.”
What are the rules around travelling between tiers?
Current Covid restrictions mean that most people in the country - those in Tier 4 and Tier 3 - should not travel outside their tier at all, unless absolutely necessary. This includes for overnight stays, or to stay in second homes.
Valid reasons for leaving your tier include work which cannot be done from home, childcare or health reasons.
Those in Tier 2 and Tier 1 areas are advised not to travel out of their area if possible, though, most importantly, they should not travel to areas with tougher restrictions.
In a further warning to anyone considering a trip from outside the area into York, Mr Walker issued a warning.
He said, “If you choose to visit the city of York from Tier 3 areas without a justifiable reason to have made your journey, with our extra patrols, chances are you will encounter one of our officers and you’ll be asked about the reason for your visit.
“It is our responsibility to ask those questions, to determine the truth and take the necessary action, in order to stop the spread and ultimately save lives.”