Crowds flock to parks and beaches despite Covid-19 warning from top scientists

27 February 2021, 16:53

Crowds have gathered at beaches across England amid the warm weather
Crowds have gathered at beaches across England amid the warm weather. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

People have rushed to beaches and park across the UK amid the hot weather this weekend - despite warnings from top scientists to stay at home.

Beach fronts in Brighton and Southend-on-Sea and were busy as temperatures rise to the highest for months.

Passers-by snapped crowds who, while largely socially distanced, were relaxing instead of exercising - against current Covid-19 restrictions.

Read more: 'Do not wreck this now', Van-Tam warns as some areas see rising Covid cases

A former Brighton PCSO tweeted that he "wouldn't be surprised if we have Lockdown 4" after witnessing crowds at the beach.

Passers-by in Brighton were concerned to see crowds at the beach
Passers-by in Brighton were concerned to see crowds at the beach. Picture: Nick (@surf107)
People relaxed at Bournemouth beach on Saturday amid wearm weather
People relaxed at Bournemouth beach on Saturday amid wearm weather. Picture: PA Images

Heaving parks were also snapped in parks across London and in Bishop's Park, where anti-lockdown protesters gathered on Saturday morning.

"It mad and in no way is distancing occurring," one person walking in Regent's Park tweeted, "not going to take a pic of playground but it was rammed."

Read more: People in their 40s next in line for Covid jabs

It comes despite England's deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, warning people "don't wreck this now" as pleasant weather washes over the country.

He said there are already "some worrying signs that people are relaxing" at "exactly the wrong time" while infections, hospitalisations and deaths remain high.

Many people were in Kensington Gardens in London during the warm weather
Many people were in Kensington Gardens in London during the warm weather. Picture: PA Images
Parks in London were packed this weekend
Parks in London were packed this weekend. Picture: PA Images

Rules currently allow each person outdoor exercise once per day, close to home, by themselves or with their household, one other person or a support bubble.

But stopping to sit down on a bench - or lie on the beach - for a long period of time remains against the restrictions.

Read more: SAGE scientists say clear messaging 'key to make sure people stick to rules after jab'

Prof Van-Tam also alerted people who have already been vaccinated to the dangers of "taking their foot off the brake" and being tempted to break the rules.

He told a press conference on Friday: "All the patients that I vaccinate... I say to them, 'Remember, all the rules still apply to you and all of us until we're in a much safer place'. It doesn't change because you've had your first dose of vaccine.

"And so, please don't be tempted to think, 'Well, one home visit might be all right now the weather is getting better, going to be a nice weekend, one small gathering in your house won't really matter'.

Read more: UK Covid-19 R value stays between 0.6 and 0.9

"So my key message tonight is look, this is all going very well but there are some worrying signs that people are relaxing, taking their foot off the brake at exactly the wrong time."

It is the 54th day since the third national lockdown was announced by prime minister Boris Johnson on January 4.