RESIDENTS across Cheshire are being urged to stick to the rules ahead of the Easter bank holiday weekend following the latest relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

Since the third national lockdown began on January 4, police have issued 1,556 fixed penalty notices across Cheshire.

Of that total, 98 were handed out by Northwich Local Policing Unit, 202 by Macclesfield LPU and 213 by Crewe LPU.

From Monday (March 29), people across England have been able to socialise outdoors while following the rule of six or meeting with another household – including in private gardens.

As part of the changes, the public can also now take part in organised outdoor sport and enjoy outdoor sport and leisure facilities.

The new rules also allow all outdoor activity for children alongside outdoor parent and child groups for up to 15 people.

As we head into a long bank holiday weekend, Cheshire Constabulary is urging the public to celebrate safely and to remember that although the number of coronavirus cases are reducing, it still remains a threat.

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims said: "Although it is great to see the relaxation of restrictions across the country we must not become complacent.

"The threat of coronavirus is still very much with us and we must stick to the rules and guidance in place in order to continue to see a drop in the number of cases.

"This includes the wearing of face coverings and social distancing when you are with people from outside of your household.

"Last year, I know many families were not able to celebrate Easter in the way they would have liked to and this was one of the many sacrifices we all had to make to get to this point now.

"Undoubtedly this year will still be different but the relaxation of the rules offer a glimmer of hope in allowing families to meet, as long as you follow the rule of six or meet with one other household outdoors.

"Sadly, the fact remains that you will not be able to meet with family and friends indoors as it is still deemed too risky at this stage.

"We must respect the rules in place and, by doing this, we can stick to the national roadmap, which will guide us out of these restrictions."

As part of the latest relaxation of the rules, the government has removed the need to ‘stay at home’ but the advice is to continue to minimise travel when necessary.

Officers will be out engaging with the public across Cheshire’s outdoor sites to ensure that everyone is staying safe this Easter holiday.

ACC Sims added: "We expect to see a lot of people flocking to the county’s beauty spots over the bank holiday.

"Although we welcome visitors, we would urge that you please think whether your journey is necessary and whether you can do this closer to home.

"If you do visit one of our sites, please follow the guidance in place to keep you and others safe and to respect the countryside code."