COMMUNITY leaders in Northwich have spoken out in favour of the introduction of the new 'Rules of Six' law that comes into effect from Monday (September 14).

Despite acknowledging the frustration and confusion within the local community about the laws, which make it illegal for people to socialise with more than six people, whether indoors or outdoors, both Cllr Kate Cernik and Cllr Andrew Cooper, said they supported the measures.

Cllr Cernik, a nurse who also represents Northwich Winnington and Castle, said she had 'every sympathy with any businesses that may be affected by the new rules'.

She added: "I am supportive of any measures that will stop a second wave of infections that will potentially affect many more people and could result in more serious illness and deaths.

"In the long run, businesses will suffer more if we have a severe second wave that results in more lockdown measures.

"I share the frustration that everyone is feeling, but as Councillor and a nurse I would urge everyone to follow the guidance and help to preserve lives and support our magnificent NHS."

Cllr Cooper, who represents the Northwich Leftwich Ward, said he agreed with his fellow Labour councillor, and made it clear that Cheshire West and Chester was not at the point of a local lockdown 'at this stage'.

He went on: "But we can’t ignore the significant rise in cases per 100,000 in our neighbouring authorities, and avoiding a second lockdown is really important for protecting lives and livelihoods.

"I would like to thank everyone for all the sacrifices they’re making to combat this disease.

"I can completely understand when people say they find the mixed messaging from the government confusing.

"It’s difficult to square being told to return to the office one week, with the government imposing restrictions on the number of people you can meet socially a week later – a measure I know some families will find really tough.

"However, it’s really important that we all play our part: keep washing our hands, wearing a mask, staying two metres apart and do everything we can to save lives."

Although the change in the law doesn't come into effect until Monday, a planned community litter pick on Sunday has been cancelled as a result, because organisers didn't want it being perceived as 'irresponsible'.

Lee Siddall, one the organisers, said: "I understand the measures don't come into place until Monday, however if they are relevant on Monday, I believe they should still be relevant on Sunday.

"We have all been doing our best to fight covid over the past 6 months and we can't risk any local lockdown as business are only just getting back on their feet."

Alison Allum, of Transition Northwich, who help organise the litter picks agreed with the safety-first approach.

She said: "We take government guidelines extremely seriously and we want to keep our volunteers safe.

"We do hope we can come together again soon to combat this frustrating and needless pollution."