Watford Borough Council will be working with police to push a ‘Covid-19 action week’.

The week is part of the council’s bid to gain control of the Covid-19 pandemic before Watford and Hertfordshire reaches a point that it would need to move to Tier 2 ‘high’ alert restrictions.

Over the last seven days in Watford, 101 people have tested positive for the virus - meaning the borough is already at the threshold to consider enforcing tougher restrictions.

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said “we have a small window of opportunity” to control the spread, and as a result the action week between Saturday (October 17) and Thursday (October 23) will be a time to remind others of the guidelines.

The council’s protection team will work with the local police force to talk to businesses and ensure they are abiding to social distancing and curfew rules.

There will also be a display truck at different hotspots across town reminding people of the key actions they need to take, including:

  • Keep doing the basics: wash your hands, cover your face, make space
  • If you have symptoms isolate and get tested: the quicker, you know you’re at risk the quicker you can protect yourself and your loved ones
  • Follow the rule of six
  • Limit the number of people you see outside your home

Two new enforcement officers will also be out on Watford’s streets to make sure people are not flouting the rules. When people refuse to co-operate on face coverings and keeping their distance from others, fixed penalty notices will be issued.

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Watford Chief Inspector Ian Grout said: “We will be supporting our colleagues at Watford Borough Council in the coming week to ensure Covid-compliance in public spaces across the town. Previously, our emphasis has always been on encouraging people to comply with the rules, with enforcement as a last resort.

“But now, if a person does not comply when asked by officers they will not hesitate to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to those who are not exempt, yet continue to wilfully ignore what is mandatory. We understand that the Government legislation can be complex, so we regularly update the Coronavirus FAQ section of our website so you can keep track of the latest changes.”

In an interview with the Observer, Chief Insp. Grout explained that officers would be taking a stricter stance in enforcement but admitted every case “has got to be taken on its own merits”.

Those who fail to wear a face mask where required, unless exempt, will be fined £200 for the first offence. This will be reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days. After the first offence, there will be no discount.

Repeat offenders will have their fines doubled at each offence, up to a maximum value of £6,400.

Head of Community Protection at the council Justine Hoy added: “It sounds like an odd thing to say but we need everyone to act as if they have Covid-19 and don’t want to spread it - if you keep that idea in your head it will make you super careful wherever you are and whatever you are doing.”