Police just look on as footballer supporters ignore social-distancing

Watching from the sidelines! Police just look on as football fans gathered outside Marine v Spurs FA Cup tie blatantly ignore social-distancing with some not wearing masks

  • Football fans were seen packed behind barriers outside Rossett Park stadium  
  • Failed to comply with social distancing as they tried to catch glimpse of players 
  • It came despite Boris Johnson’s pleas for families to stay at home 

Police were pictured looking on as football supporters who had gathered outside the Marine v Spurs FA Cup in Liverpool blatantly ignored social distancing rules. 

Football fans were packed behind barriers outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby to catch a glimpse of players in the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match on Sunday. 

It came despite Boris Johnson’s pleas for families to stay at home as coronavirus hospital deaths hit 563 – the highest Sunday toll in eight months. 

Hordes of fans show their support as they wait outside the stadium prior to the FA Cup Third Round match between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park

Fans show their support with no social distancing as they wait outside the stadium as the Spurs team coach arrives

Two young girls pose for a photo as fans gather with no social distancing outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby

Images taken today show fans showing their support with no social distancing as they waited outside the stadium as the Spurs team coach arrived.   

Under the current rules in England, people must not leave their home unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ – which includes exercise.

Citizens are allowed to exercise with one other person or with their household or support bubble, but not outside their local area. 

Superintendent Andy Rankine from Merseyside Police told MailOnline: ‘Officers are in Crosby this afternoon ahead of Marine FC’s FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur. 

‘A small gathering took place ahead of the arrival of the team coaches, and road closures were put in place to facilitate this arrival safely. 

‘The vast majority of people present were adhering to social distancing measures and those who were not were advised by officers. 

‘As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will always strive to encourage people to disperse and go home peacefully. 

‘But where we face blatant breaches of legislation, people ignoring the restrictions and even obstructing police from carrying out their duty, our officers will not hesitate to take enforcement action. 

‘Those attending have now left the area and we hope everyone enjoys the occasion safely at home.’ 

Fans take photographs in front of police officers as they wait outside Rosset Park stadium ahead of the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match today

Fans gather with no social distancing as they wait to greet the team buses outside Rossett Park, the home ground of Marine, in Crosby

Priti Patel today defended police as they began strict application of Covid rules that includes £200 fines and less tolerance for rule-breakers.

The Home Secretary warned that officers ‘will not hesitate’ to take action because the increasing number of new Covid-19 cases proved there was a need for ‘strong enforcement’ in cases where people were clearly breaking the rules.

The UK reported the highest number of hospital deaths on a Sunday in eight months.

Huge crowds gather to watch the Marine players arrive for the FA Cup third-round match between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park

It is an increase of 50 deaths compared with last Sunday’s reporting, and an increase of 197 deaths compared with December 27.   

This number is a huge leap compared to previous Sundays when 448 were recorded on January 3 and 301 on December 27.

Today’s death toll is the highest Sunday increase since May 3.

The grim figure brings the total number of UK coronavirus deaths to 81,431.  

What is a ‘reasonable excuse’ for going outside?

Under the rules in England, you must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice). You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes: 

  • Work – you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home
  • Volunteering – you can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services
  • Essential activities – you can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating
  • Education and childcare – you can only leave home for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children where they are eligible to attend. 
  • Meeting others and care – you can leave home to visit people in your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one), to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work), to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people
  • Exercise – you can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble, and not outside your local area. The Government advises you should only leave for exercise once a day, but the law does not put a limit on this. 
  • Medical reasons – you can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies
  • Harm and compassionate visits – you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). 
  • You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment
  • Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment
  • Communal worship and life events – You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony.

There are further reasonable excuses. 

For example, you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum. In Scotland, coronavirus legislation gives police the power to force entry into people’s homes if they have a ‘reasonable suspicion’ rules are being broken.  However, in England, they can only enter in ‘exceptional circumstances’, which includes if they believe someone inside is infectious.  Otherwise, they will require a warrant. 

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