"It's like everyone's forgotten coronavirus": English beaches packed as temperatures soar

20 May 2020, 16:07

By Maddie Goodfellow

English people have rushed to the beaches and parks as the country sizzled in the hottest weather since lockdown measures were eased.

Hundreds of people flocked to Southend beach in Essex, with one man telling LBC: “It’s madness, it’s like everyone’s forgotten about coronavirus."

The government's official advice for England states that people can now meet with one other person not from their household in a park or open space, but that social distancing rules of two metres must be upheld.

However, the videos from Southend appear to show sunbathers enjoying their new found freedom without social distancing.

One couple told LBC: "It's like the rules are six inches apart, not six feet apart. Everyone is just so close and no one is taking any notice of the rules.

"People are taking their kids over into it as well, it's just silly, it's not right.

"A friend of mine came down yesterday and he said it was empty and then we come down here and see what it was like, it is incredible."We have stayed away from the crowds, keeping our distance, on a wall away from the beach."

Crowds returned to Bournemouth beach
Crowds returned to Bournemouth beach. Picture: PA

Mark Johnson, who owns a deckchair company in Southend, told LBC: "We've only just opened again on Sunday because people were still scared and cautious.

"But it's getting gradually better, slowly but surely, people are getting more confident with the social distancing. People are adhering to it pretty well. There's a few people, less busy than normal, about 50 per cent of what it can be, but it's decent considering the circumstances.

"98 per cent are adhering to social distancing but you will always get the idiots unfortunately."

Local councils have urged people to stick to social distancing and reminded the public that facilities such as outdoor pools and public toilets remained closes.

Officers will also be patrolling popular beauty spots and parks to ensure people are abiding by the government’s guidance.

Tourist spots have also asked people to stay away with many attractions remaining closed and the majority beaches not being lifeguarded.