CHESHIRE Police say they will ‘not hesitate to take action’ against residents flouting new tighter coronavirus lockdown measures.

The latest restrictions mean that people in Warrington, Halton and Merseyside are no longer allowed to visit other households, while pubs and restaurants must shut at 10pm.

Those in breach risk being fined, while premises can be shut down.

Penalties of up to £200 can be dished out for not wearing a face mask or ignoring the ‘rule of six’.

Assistant chief constable Jenny Sims said: “The past six months have been a challenging time for us all, but the people of Cheshire have come together and shown great solidarity and community spirit in the fight against this deadly virus.

“Now more than ever, as we enter a new phase of restrictions, we need the continued support of the local community in an effort to reduce the spread.

“It is clear that we all have a very important part to play over the coming weeks and months.

“Covid-19 is very much still out there, we must not let our guard down and the personal choices that we all make are crucial to protect others.

“We do not want to stop people from being able to do the things they enjoy, but this needs to be done in a responsible and measured way to reduce any further spread of the virus as much as possible.

“Here in Cheshire we are in an unusual position in that a large proportion of the county is now facing tighter restrictions due to a sharp rise in cases.

“New measures are now in place for those living in Warrington, Widnes and Runcorn – meaning that residents are no longer able to socialise with other households in their homes or private gardens.

“As a force, we will continue to support the public to navigate the measures in place but we need local residents to take personal responsibility and make sure they are fully aware of the rules that apply to them in the part of the county they live in and ensure they stick to them.

“The rules are there for a reason – to keep us all safe – and we all need to play our part to protect our family, our friends, the communities we live in and, most importantly, the NHS.”

Cheshire Police is ‘continuing to work closely’ alongside Warrington Borough Council, Halton Borough Council and Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils – as well as Public Health England and other agencies – in enforcing the regulations.

ACC Sims added: “The vast majority of people have been listening to the advice, sticking to the rules and following the guidance in place to limit the spread of the virus.

“However, it is disappointing that a small minority are still choosing to flout the regulations in place and, with the infection rate spreading rapidly, we will not hesitate to take action where we need to – especially for the most serious breaches.

“We will not allow those who continue to ignore the rules to reverse the hard work and efforts of everyone else.”

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane said: “The people of Cheshire need to remain vigilant, act responsibly and do everything they can to keep themselves and others safe.

“Over the past six months, the vast majority of residents have followed the government’s advice and I hope that this continues as further measures are introduced.

“It is as important than ever that everyone who lives and works in the county plays their part and continues to closely follow the advice in a bid to halt any further spread of the virus to help protect the NHS and save lives.”