So much for social distancing! Britons follow official coronavirus advice that it’s safe to go for a Mother’s Day stroll… by flocking to the parks and beaches (like everyone else)
- Cumbria Police said tourist hotspots in the UK have seen an ‘influx’ of visitors despite being urged to stay in
- West Wittering Beach in Chichester shut after huge numbers visited yesterday as many looked to get fresh air
- Visit Cornwall tourist board has asked people to postpone visits to a later date due to the ongoing pandemic
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Britons across the UK today flocked to beaches up and down the country to take a stroll with their loved ones for Mother’s Day, despite social distancing advice from the government due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Many headed to the beaches and parks this morning and enjoyed the balmy spring weather after the government forced pubs and restaurants to close on Friday night.
Tourists are also being urged to stay away from beaches and other holiday destinations in the UK to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Cumbria Police said despite Government advice to avoid non-essential travel, the Lake District and other tourist hotspots in the UK were experiencing an ‘influx’ of visitors.
The force has now urged people from outside its county to keep away, stating that the Lake District is ‘no longer conducting business as usual’, with pubs, restaurants and attractions advised to close.
It comes as yesterday the National Trust made a dramatic U-turn and closed all its parks and gardens – leaving many with no where to go for a Mother’s Day walk today.
Many people flocked to the beach today despite social distancing measures being advised for people up and down the country
Tourists are being urged to stay away from beaches and other holiday destinations in the UK to limit the spread of coronavirus. Pictured: a busy beach in Sandbanks, Poole yesterday
Yesterday the National Trust made a dramatic U-turn and closed all its parks and gardens. Pictured: members of the public walk in the grounds of the National Trust’s Dunham Massey Park in Altrincham on Friday
In addition West Wittering Beach in Chichester, south-east England, has closed to the public after the number of visitors on Saturday ‘far exceeded’ expectations, the estate owners said.
Meanwhile, the Visit Cornwall tourist board published a statement on Friday asking people to postpone their visits to a later date ‘despite the lack of clarity from Government’ around the situation.
This morning in an interview with BBC Breakfast National Clinical Director for Scotland, professor Jason Leitch also warned against people flooding tourist sites.
This morning in an interview with BBC Breakfast National Clinical Director for Scotland, professor Jason Leitch (pictured) also warned against people flooding tourist sites
The National Trust had originally said it would keep gardens and parks open to the public but last night changed their minds
He said that UK holiday makers travelling domestically don’t have to cancel plans but must continue to carry out social distancing. He added that healthcare services in the Scottish Highlands and islands are not ready for a huge surge in patients.
He said: ‘What we don’t want is hoards of camper vans coming to Fort William because the health service will not be able to manage that, because some people will get sick.’
In a statement on Saturday, Cumbria Police’s assistant chief constable Andrew Slattery said: ‘Whilst we are looking at all measures to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, I must urge people living outside the county not to visit.
‘A national emergency shut-down of businesses and schools is not an excuse for a holiday.
‘Cumbria County Council yesterday urged people to stay at home as far as possible to protect out NHS and save lives. I reiterate that advice and it is important that we all follow it.’
People out walking and enjoying the spring sunshine at Mottisfont, one of the National Trust parklands in Romsey yesterday
In a statement, Mr Slattery said public services within the county, located in north-west England, are resourced to serve its population of 500,000 and will be ‘stretched to breaking point’ by the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Large numbers of visitors will only place an additional burden on these hard-pushed professionals,’ he added.
‘These are unprecedented times and our first priority is the protection of life. People’s lives must come first.’
Elsewhere, the West Wittering Estate posted a message on its website to say its beach and car park would be closed as remaining open had ‘encouraged an unacceptable movement of people’ into the local community.
‘We understand that the restrictions imposed by the government make us an attractive option for exercise, dog walking, and socialising, but we cannot in good conscience remain open to the public,’ it said.
The National Trust’s move to shut premises comes just days after they said they would keep many of their gardens and parks open for free allowing people to ‘relax and refresh’.
Punt chauffeurs take empty punts down the river Cam in Cambridge to be taken out of the river for storage as a result of the covid-19 outbreak
An outdoor gym class on Brighton seafront with the participants socially distancing, on day two of the coronavirus lockdown
Walkers try to maintain their normal routines as they take a stroll through Richmond Park in London this morning
People walk through Greenwich Park in London as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues
National Trust director general Hilary McGrady said: ‘Despite our desire to keep our outdoor spaces open, the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors has to be our top priority.
‘Having observed the numbers visiting our properties today I am no longer convinced we can maintain social distancing over Mother’s Day when numbers are likely to grow, and beyond.’
On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs and restaurants across the country to close in a bid to impact the infection rate by reducing ‘unnecessary’ social gatherings by 75%.
In a statement, the Visit Cornwall website posted: ‘Despite the lack of clarity from the Government, Visit Cornwall is advising that visitors should not come to Cornwall at this time.’
This morning London Mayor Sadiq Khan also told Londoners that they needed to stay in doors to stop people dying.
London is the worst hit city in the UK and Mr Khan today claimed he has been lobbying Boris Johnson’s government in order for stricter measures to be implemented across the capital.
There have been 51 deaths in the capital and 1,221 confirmed cases of the illness.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, Mr Khan was questioned on whether or not Londoners had understood how serious the situation in the capital currently is.
‘I am clear, life has changed and we have to do things differently for a while now.
‘Social interaction will spread the virus. Do shopping for elderly neighbours, only buy what you need.’
He added that people needed to practice social distancing for their vulnerable loved ones and said if people didn’t then they ‘will die’.
Marr said there had been a clear ‘change in tone’ after the government had initially allowed pubs and restaurants to continue to run before it ordered them to close on Friday night.
‘My frustration with government is that only last Monday they allowed me to attend Cobra, things are worse in London, if we don’t keep our social distance people will die. I’m working from home and others should too.’
Asked whether or not parks and other public places should be closed, Mr Khan said people need to recognise the severity of the situation.
‘I have been lobbying the government.
‘There are instructions and rules we need to obey to stop people dying. Making sure there is no confusion or mixed messages, people should not be leaving their homes unless they have to, they can walk dogs or exercise, but mixing socially leads to more people dying.’
He added that emergency bills that will go through parliament next week will give additional powers to police in order to allow them to enforce stricter rules upon the public and social gatherings.
‘Unless people stay at home and stop using public transport then more people will die.
‘Please stop mixing and stay at home.’
He said public transport should only be used for critical workers and said his office has now implemented an ‘enhanced cleaning regime on all TfL estates’.
‘The advice at the moment is not to give them masks, if the advice changes then of course we will change this. But the NHS still don’t have what they need.
‘Stay at home unless you have good reason to leave your home, it’s important everyone works from home’.
There has been much speculation on whether or not London, a ‘city of super spreaders’ would be locked down due to the rapid spread of the virus.
Mr Khan added: ‘We are a global city, we have connectivity around the country and density. All of us need to follow the advice, we are running a weekend service during the week.
‘No one else apart from critical workers should be using public transport.
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