WILLIAMSBURG — One local police department will begin enforcing social distancing in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Monday, the Williamsburg Police Department said in a press release that after requests from public health officials and in response to incidents of non-compliance with social distancing restrictions, the department will be enforcing orders designed to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.

The department reported social distancing restrictions are proving effective, and to best serve and protect the citizens of Williamsburg during the public health emergency, officers will enforce size and density limitations on groups and public gatherings. The department advises there shall not be more than 10 persons together at a time and groups should not include persons less than six feet away from each other.

All recreation areas/facilities are closed. Closures include indoor and outdoor courts, public parks and playground areas. Individuals who fail to disperse, are found trespassing or fail to comply with lawful orders will be cited.

Essential businesses that remain open also have a right to protect their customers and may request law enforcement to remove anybody who poses a safety risk or refuses to comply with store rules, according to the department's press release.

Through this health emergency, law enforcement will act to ensure that those who are careless with their own safety and health do not harm law-abiding citizens’ efforts to protect themselves and their families.

The Williamsburg Police Department will continue to enforce all laws, including making arrests for driving under the influence. Contrary to discussions, there are no temporary exceptions to existing laws. While it is true that law enforcement, corrections and the courts currently seek to minimize the number of new persons being added to the jail population, there is zero-tolerance for illegal activity. There remains room for new occupants inside the jail.

Officers will continue to maintain high visibility in neighborhoods. To request extra patrol or to report suspicious activity, contact Whitley County E911 using the non-emergency number (606) 549-6017 or the Williamsburg Fire Hall at (606) 549-6038.

Officers with the department say they understand the urge to return to normal activity. The restrictions mentioned above are designed to reduce the amount of time that your lives will be interrupted by this health crisis. Enforcement of these restrictions is designed to stop those who put others at risk. It is not meant to discourage responsible citizens.

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