EXTRA care should be taken by residents in Warrington town centre this weekend due to heightened risk of coronavirus, council leaders are warning.

The town was officially designated a ‘high risk’ area earlier this week and has seen consistently high case numbers of coronavirus over recent weeks.

Over the weekend, Covid community support officers will be deployed throughout the town centre, including the Stadium Quarter, Riverside Retail Park, Cockhedge and Golden Square shopping centres, to provide additional support to businesses.

The officers will be on hand to offer guidance, check compliance levels and offer support for coronavirus-related issues that need addressing.

They will be wearing identification and will be introducing themselves to premises throughout the town.

The council’s public protection team also be in the town centre accompanied by Cheshire Police patrols to support and inspect businesses and takeaways to ensure that all of the appropriate Covid-secure measures are in place to protect staff and customers.

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As well as this, there will be a Covid business support officer presence at the town’s railway stations, bus station and hospitality sector within the town centre.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: “The new guidance and restrictions in place throughout Warrington – and the wider Cheshire region – are to help us drive down the number of cases of coronavirus.

“In Warrington in particular, case numbers have remained stubbornly high, and we need to balance the social and wellbeing needs of our residents with taking every possible precaution to reduce the risk of transmission.

“Remember – you can only go to public indoor settings like restaurants with members of your household or support bubble, so please follow this restriction.

“The hospitality sector in Warrington has worked extremely hard to put in place the appropriate Covid-secure measures to keep us all as safe as possible, so please do your bit by following the guidance and restrictions currently in place.”

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Professor Steven Broomhead MBE, the council’s chief executive, added: “Our Covid community support officers, in liaison with our public protection team and Cheshire Police, are being put in place to provide support for our businesses and residents.

“Please treat them with respect and say hello if you see them – they are here to help us all to ensure we can continue to enjoy Warrington in as safe a manner as possible.

“Please also be mindful that there could be increased footfall in the town centre this weekend due to Merseyside being a ‘very high’ risk area and pubs in the Liverpool City Region remaining closed.

“We are expecting that some people living in ‘very high’ risk areas may be tempted into visiting Warrington and other tier 2 regions.

“Please be extra cautious by maintaining excellent hand hygiene, keeping your distance from people not in your household, and not forgetting your face covering if you are going out.”