ENFORCEMENT will be used as a “last resort” by police as further measures are introduced in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Dorset Police has urged residents to “act responsibly and comply” to the new restrictions which include a 10pm curfew for pubs, restaurants and bars.

Other measures include an increased fine of £200 for not wearing a face mask, a limit of 15 people at weddings and civil ceremonies and staff in hospitality and retail will have to wear face coverings.

Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya said: “We fully understand how difficult the last six months have been for people in our communities in Dorset. The majority of people have followed the guidance and played their part in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The South West has one of the lowest infection rates in the country, but we cannot afford to be complacent now. Nationally the infection rate is rising rapidly and we must continue to work together to keep everyone safe. It is critical that the public fully understand the regulations and take personal responsibility for their actions.

“Dorset Police will maintain the approach of the 4Es to the new legislation using engagement, education and encouragement to ask members of the public to comply with the regulations. I hope the public will continue to act responsibly and comply.”

Fines of £200 could also be issued to gatherings of more than six people inside or outside under the ‘Rule of Six’ if they refuse to comply.

ACC de Reya added: “We will be visibly supporting these measures and in circumstances where individuals are clearly and blatantly breaching the legislation, particularly at large parties or where anti-social behaviour or disorder is present, enforcement can be expected. The rule of six law is not new and is perfectly clear. We all have a personal responsibility to follow it to help stop the spread of a deadly virus.”

“As part of the new restrictions, all hospitality businesses will have to close by 10pm from Thursday 24 September 2020. Our officers and licensing teams will work to fully engage with licensed premises to ensure compliance. We continue to work with our partners in local authorities, environmental health, food and trading standards to help businesses understand their responsibility and trade within the rules.

“Fines for people not wearing a face mask have also increased to up to £200. Those exempt from wearing a face mask will not be fined. Our approach remains the same, engaging with people first, educating them on the law and encouraging them to comply. Where we are left with no choice we will enforce, but this is a last resort.

“We remain in difficult and testing times and the overall test of success is not in the volume of enforcement, but in compliance as this is critical for us to reduce the transmission of infection. It is of vital importance that people respect the change in the law. I hope that we do not need to enforce the legislation and people understand the importance of the measures put in place to keep us all safe. The pandemic has not gone away and everyone must play their part to protect themselves, their families and our communities.”

Anyone concerned that the law is being broken or they are experiencing anti-social behaviour, can report this to Dorset Police. Reports should be made through online reporting wherever possible via: https://www.dorset.police.uk/do-it-online/ on the Dorset Police website.”