RULEBREAKERS have been told ‘this isn’t a holiday’ after being spotted ignoring social distancing measures put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Parks and open spaces across west Cheshire remain open for residents to take daily permitted exercise, but people must observe social distancing and not gather groups.

Whilst the vast majority of people are keeping to these rules to protect others, a small minority aren’t observing the processes in place to keep people safe.

Cheshire West and Chester Council says that it has received a number of complaints about people flouting such social distancing rules.

“It was with dismay that I was told about an area in the borough being especially busy with people walking, jogging, cycling, sitting in the sun, fishing, playing football, eating picnics and walking dogs,” said council leader Cllr Louise Gittins.

“This isn’t a holiday. We are trying to protect our loved ones from this virus and a minority are not respecting the very important guidance that will get us through this.

“I know this is new to people and none of us have ever experienced a situation like this before, but please play your part to keep yourselves and others safe.

“If people continue to ignore the rules about social distancing, these treasured facilities will be closed.”

Following reports that dogs are running around and owners breaching social distancing to retrieve them, dog walkers are asked to keep their dogs on a lead unless they have excellent recall.

The Government has outlawed public gatherings of more than two people, except for members from the same household, and Cheshire Police has additional powers to fine those who do not comply.

Cllr Gittins added: “Please stay at home, to protect the NHS and help save lives.

“I know this is a challenging time for all of us. The Council, its partners and over 1,300 local volunteers are working around the clock doing everything that we can to support you.

“This is not advice or guidance, but a set of rules that all residents are expected to follow.

“Residents need to act on these new measures now.”

Any changes will be reviewed by the Government in three weeks, however the measures may continue for a longer period, depending on their impact.