Brighton council warn social distancing ‘impossible’ as people flock to the seaside

A police Officer asks a couple, who are sitting on the beach at Brighton in West Sussex, to leave (Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/LNP)

Brighton and Hove City Council have claimed social distancing had been rendered ‘impossible’ after people flocked to the town’s famous seafront on Saturday afternoon.

Temperatures hit a high of 14 degrees earlier today, prompting tourists and residents to take advantage of the warm weather and flout explicit government guidelines.

Just over 24 hours earlier Prime Minister Boris Johnson, himself still self-isolating having been diagnosed with coronavirus, had issued a stern message to the UK population, reminding people to remain in their houses in order to save lives and protect the NHS.

Yesterday he said: ‘I reckon a lot of people will be starting to think that this is all going on for quite a long time and would rather be getting out there, particularly if you’ve got kids in the household. Everybody may be getting a bit stir crazy, and there may be just a temptation to get out there, hang out and start to break the regulations. I just urge you not to do that.’

People enjoy the sunshine on the seafront at Brighton as the coronavirus death rate continue to rise (Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/LNP)
Police Officers ask people who were sitting on the beach at Brighton in West Sussex to leave (Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/LNP)

Johnson’s words, however, appeared to fall on deaf ears with Brighton Council forced to tweet a clear warning which read: ‘Too many people are on the seafront making social distancing impossible.

‘Too many people are using the seafront to meet up with friends. We know it’s hard being inside and not seeing friends and family but please don’t visit Brighton and Hove this weekend. Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.’

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Although the beaches, patrolled by police, remained largely empty, many people were photographed walking along the promenade leading Maria Caulfield, the MP for Lewes, to brand them idiots.

She wrote on Twitter: ‘If you are one of the idiots on Brighton seafront right now , don’t bother #ClapForCarers on Thursday. You have put NHS lives at risk by your stupid behaviour.

Earlier on Saturday it was confirmed that the death toll had surpassed 4,000 with a further 708 deaths recorded, including that of a five-year-old boy who became the UK’s youngest victim.

The weather is set fair for Sunday as well and at a press briefing this evening, cabinet secretary Michael Gove reminded the public of the need to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

He said: ‘More than ever, we must stick with it. I know that life under lockdown can be challenging, and some will be tempted on this sunny weekend to venture out and about.

‘If we relax our adherence to the rules, we increase the risk for others. Think of those on the front line and the sacrifices they’re making for us.’

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