Ahead of Easter weekend, Police are asking the public to continue to follow the advice of the Health Minister and Department of Health and adhere to the Health Protection Regulations.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “We understand that people may be frustrated and are keen to return to normal but the fact remains that we are still in the midst of a pandemic and the choices we make have the potential to influence the road map out of the current lockdown.

“Stay at home remains the advice from the Department of Health.

“If you have reasonable excuse to travel, please take extra care on the roads.

“Drivers should be mindful of greater number of people crossing roads or walking along country roads, particularly close to parks, green spaces and public amenities.

“Pedestrians must pay attention to their environment, whether that means not getting distracted by friends or mobile devices, or being especially careful when walking on country roads by walking on the right, facing oncoming traffic and by wearing highly visible clothing.

“Tragically five motorcyclists have died in collisions so far this year, four more compared to the same time last year. We are reminding bikers to ensure their machines and safety equipment are in good working order and that they ride defensively. In addition, drivers must be alert to the presence of motorcyclists using the road network, particularly when emerging from and turning into junctions.

“All other road users, particularly those using country roads, need to ensure they drive at an appropriate speed to give them enough time to react to any slower moving agricultural vehicles, pay particular attention to width markings and any signals. Please take extra care and patience to reduce risk by not making dangerous overtaking manoeuvres.

“Despite reduced traffic levels, police continue to detect significant numbers of people speeding and drink driving. Our enforcement will continue with Police officers on duty across the country specifically looking for road users taking unnecessary and potentially life-changing risks.”

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd continued: “The Regulations also direct that no person may leave or remain away from home without reasonable excuse. Travel or stay at holiday accommodation does not constitute reasonable excuse and we are asking everyone to continue to postpone their visits to holiday accommodation until the Regulations change.

“It is still Easter and everyone can still celebrate in a safe and slightly different way.

“We will continue to use our four Es approach to encourage everyone to follow the Regulations and maintain safe spaces for all.”