People across Lincolnshire should not be tempted to go outside and “take their foot off the gas” in the fight against coronavirus, as temperatures are set to soar over the Easter Bank Holiday.
In recent days, police have attended group BBQs, and teens have been seen gathering in local parks in Lincoln.
Tony McGinty, director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council, called on people to stick to social distancing measures this weekend to keep case numbers down.
It comes as the government hinted that lockdown could be extended into May because scientists believe the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak might not come for another 10 days.
Mr McGinty said people should not be tempted to go outside for anything other than essentials.
“If we take our foot off the gas, we will almost certainly see a difference in the numbers,” he said.
Temperatures are expected to soar this bank holiday weekend, a time normally suited for friends and family to go out and enjoy time together.
Lincoln is expected to see sunshine and highs of 23 degrees Celsius on Saturday, April 11.
But Mr McGinty said the message remained the same for people to stay at home and only go out for food, medicine and exercise.
So far, Lincolnshire Police has handed out nine fines to people who have ignored government guidance.
Officers handed out fixed penalty notices in Skegness, Spalding and Boston mainly to people gathering in small groups.
In Lincoln, police attended a group of young people holding a barbecue in Sincil Bank and there have been reports of others gathering in the Arboretum, Monks Road.
Stewart Brinn, Chief Inspector at Lincolnshire Police, urged the public to “stay at home and save lives” this weekend.
He added that officers will advise those who flout the guidance to change their behaviour, but would fine them if they persistently ignore lockdown restrictions.
“There is no deviation on this – we have a duty to protect communities in Lincolnshire and we will use all the powers at our disposal to achieve that,” he said.
U P D A T E: Chief Inspector Stewart Brinn talks about the importance of staying at home and following government guidance, especially with the bank holiday weekend coming up.
His plea? Be A Steve. Don't be a Di-Richard.
Watch the video below to find out what that means!
— Lincolnshire Police – #StayHomeSaveLives (@LincsPolice) April 8, 2020
The force also urged people to only go out for essentials as supermarkets have been “particularly busy” this week.
Grantham Police tweeted that queues outside Asda and Marks and Spencer were being managed “brilliantly”, but added that people should only shop for necessitates as “little as possible”.
It comes as the government hinted that restrictions on lockdown could be extended for a further three weeks.
Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has been in intensive care with coronavirus for three days, said ministers would rely on evidence to make a decision.
“I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review,” he said.
“We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.”
This would mean that the earliest the government would reconsider lifting lockdown is from May 4.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said the data was beginning to show change but the government “won’t know that for sure for a week or so.”