Coronavirus risk at Wellingborough horse fair is low, say public health officials

The council and police have no powers to stop the event

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 5:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 5:46 pm
The site of the horse fair

The risk of coronavirus spread at the horse fair due to take place near Wellingborough this weekend is low, say public health officials.

In a joint statement from Northamptonshire County Council public health, Northamptonshire Police and the Borough Council of Wellingborough, officials said they are working with the organisers of the event, which is expected to attract around 150 people.

The statement said: "Northamptonshire Police, Northamptonshire County Council Public Health and the Borough Council of Wellingborough have been working closely to review the planned horse fair with the organiser, to assess whether the event would be safe and compliant with Covid related regulations.

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"Public Health are working with the event organisers to develop a comprehensive risk assessment with control measures for the event.

"Based on the current information available, Public Health are of the opinion that the risk of spread of the Covid virus due to this event is low."

Northamptonshire Police and Wellingborough Council have no powers to stop the horse fair or restrict it from taking place under Covid legislation or any other legislation.

Officials said: "Public Health are only able to enact powers where there is clear and robust evidence of an increased risk of infection associated with an event and therefore are not able to pre-emptively serve any orders."

The event organiser is working positively with the authorities and all are working together to make sure it is a safe and peaceful event that minimises any risk of infection.

Northamptonshire Police said it is stepping up patrols and a policing operation will be in place throughout the weekend to make sure the event is safe and peaceful.

In a statement, the force said: "Officers are liaising with local parish councillors and community representatives to discuss and address their concerns.

"Rural and neighbourhood officers will continue to patrol the area and provide advice and information to local businesses, farms and residents."

There have been fears that a large event might spread Covid-19 in the county, which is already on alert to take action to avoid local lockdown.

The joint statement said: "All partners remain very concerned by the heightened levels of infection in some parts of the county and will continue to support the organiser in ensuring that the risk of infection is minimised at the event and in the local community. The appropriate agency will enforce Covid regulations where necessary."

The statement also addressed the encampments that have been set up as those attending the horse fair arrive in the area.

It said: "The police and local authorities are also continuing to work together in relation to the unauthorised traveller encampments that have recently set up in the Wellingborough area and other parts of the county.

"A number of enforcement notices have already been issued and we will continue to proactively engage with encampments to offer advice and serve enforcement notices where necessary."

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