Boris Johnson blasts Bournemouth sunbathers as ‘taking too many liberties’ on crowded beaches
BORIS Johnson has blasted the Bournemouth sunbathers for “taking too many liberties” on crowded beaches.
The PM warned this afternoon there could be a second spike if people keep ignoring social distancing rules at Britain’s beaches.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
People swarmed to Bournemouth beach[/caption]
Mr Johnson said: “Let me be very clear about the scenes in Bournemouth – it’s very important for people to understand if you look at what’s happening elsewhere in the world where people have been coming out of lockdown.
“I’m afraid what you’re also seeing is people taking too many liberties with the guidance, mingling too much, not observing social distancing.
“Some parts of the world – I won’t name them – you’ve got really serious spikes in the instances of the diseases.”
The PM said it was crucial Brits don’t ignore the rules – which will be further relaxed on July 4 – warning young people not to think they are “invincible”.
He said: “It’s crucial people understand that on 4 July we get this right and we do this in a balanced way and we recognise the risks.
“You may think you’re not going to get it and you’re immortal and invincible and so on.
“And very likely that’s true, particularly if you’re a young person.
“But the bug you carry can kill elderly people particularly. It’s still dangerous. The virus is still out there.”
Downing Street has suggested the decision to close beaches would be left up to local authorities, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said they would be closed if people continued to flout the rules.
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak use hand sanitiser before having a table football match[/caption]
But the Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said they did not have the resources to deal with the massive crowds.
Councillor Ian Hudspeth said: ““It is hugely difficult for a council to keep beaches open to the public while also limiting the number of people who visit.
“Closing beaches in one area may also simply shift the problem elsewhere.
“Councils and the emergency services cannot be left to manage this issue alone.
“The Government can help councils by stepping up efforts to educate the public on the specific risks posed by ignoring social distancing in tourist environments.
He added that lives depended on people “taking personal responsibility” for their actions.
The Government’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has also warned that cases will rise if people don’t enjoy the sun sensibly.
Professor Whitty wrote on Twitter last night: “COVID-19 circulation has gone down due to the efforts of everyone but is still in general circulation.
“If we do not follow social distancing guidance then cases will rise again.
“Naturally people will want to enjoy the sun but we need to do so in a way that is safe for all.”
Bournemouth MP Tobias Ellwood said beaches should be closed if people don’t behave sensibly.
He told the BBC: “Yesterday (Bournemouth beach) was deluged and social distancing went out the window.
“A major incident was declared, the local authority and indeed the police couldn’t cope.
“The beach should have been closed down or at least shut down to prevent people from entering.
Mr Ellwood warned that he “would hate to see Bournemouth or any seaside resort be where the second spike is the first to appear.”
The local authorities needed to be handed out greater powers and resources to shut down and close beaches if they are swamped with people, the MP said.
Mr Ellwood added: “We need to make sure no beach was like yesterday, those scenes were unacceptable, until there is a vaccine we should not be seeing this.”
He said it was a “perfect storm” where people were still furloughed and children were out of classrooms and everyone decided to pile into the beach.
When asked about the over-crowding on beaches, a spokesman for Downing Street said: “Everyone should be able to enjoy the sunshine, and we understand that people want to enjoy public spaces.
“But it is important we don’t undo the hard work of the British public in reducing the transmission of this virus.
“It is a matter for local authorities to manage numbers, alongside emergency services and Public Health England.
“As we saw yesterday they are best placed to make those decisions on a case-by-case basis.
“We have been clear that should we see case numbers increase we will introduce local lockdowns.”
Pressed on whether the Government would close beaches, the Number 10 spokesman said: “It is for local authorities to manage numbers.
“I believe Matt Hancock, when he spoke, was referring to the powers to impose localised lockdowns which we have been clear throughout may need to be the case if we see case numbers rise in a particular area.”
But the Twitter account for No10 promptly posted a tweet, warning people to stay socially distanced at Britain’s beaches.
Social distancing rules still apply at the beach.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) June 26, 2020
George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, said this morning: “Clearly yesterday we had droves of people going to the beach in very large numbers, that was much more difficult.
“We do have powers to put in place closures should that be necessary.
“If it were necessary to do that to control the virus, then we would.
We have the powers to do it if needed, just as we had the powers to do the lockdown.”
Shocking pictures of the aftermath of the crowds show the beach had been trashed with tins of rubbish, beer cans and glass bottles.
Local authority staff were hard at work this morning trying to clean up the beach.
When asked about the worrying scenes, a spokesman for the PM said: “What I would say is that the PM and the Government’s scientific and medical advisers have stressed the great importance of the public continuing to adhere to social distancing advice.
“It’s only because of the public’s hard work that we’ve been able to bring the virus under control.
“If the rules don’t continue to be followed and the virus starts to spread exponentially again, then we will look at having to reverse some of the easements that we’ve put into place.
“And I don’t think anyone in the British public would want for that to happen.”
When announcing that most of the lockdown measures would be lifted next Saturday, Boris Johnson repeatedly stressed he would not hesitate to bring in local or national lockdowns in necessary.
The fears over a second wave of coronavirus comes after The Sun revealed MPs have been worried about the risk of transmission on beaches for weeks.
People blatantly disregarded social distancing rules over night as well, at illegal rave parties in London.
Police in full riot gear descended on Notting Hill, West London to try and disperse crowds.
Most read in News
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW
Don’t miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.