Fuming locals urge Bournemouth beach crowd 'covidiots' to go home

25 June 2020, 18:05

Crowds gather on the beach in Bournemouth
Crowds gather on the beach in Bournemouth. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Fuming locals have criticised the huge crowds who descended on Bournemouth beach on the hottest day of the year, branding them “covidiots” and urging them to “go home.”

A major incident was declared as hundreds of thousands of people travelled to Dorset on the hottest day of the year so far.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council said it was left with no choice but to declare a major incident after services were "completely overstretched" as huge numbers of visitors defied advice to stay away during the hot weather in recent days.

Condemning the "irresponsible" behaviour of crowds who gridlocked roads, dumped rubbish, abused refuse collectors and parked illegally, the council said extra police patrols have been brought in.

The mercury rose to a scorching 33.3C (91.94F) at Heathrow Airport in west London on Thursday, beating Wednesday's high of 32.6C (90.68F) at the same location.

Angry residents called for the council to “close the borders into Dorset and close the beaches” as the town was overwhelmed by visitors.

One local said: “Shocked and appalled at the selfish behaviour of so many.

“I don't care if they've spent 3 months in lockdown, so has everyone else. I don't care if they would rather not take part in social distancing, as long as they impose self-isolation for the appropriate 2 weeks when they get home.

“I do care that these people have just created a situation that could mean someone getting ill or put a vulnerable person in hospital.

“Shame on each and every person on the beach this day. Shame on the council for letting this happen.”

Another wrote: “Just go home , ridiculous the amount of people and cars coming into Bournemouth.

“Had to go and pick something up from Bournemouth hospital yesterday morning , I’ve never seen it as bad as that before. Miles of traffic going into Christchurch.

“Just clear off and stop spoiling our lovely area. Heard people were coming from Peterborough, go somewhere else nearer to where you live.”

While a third added: “People have no respect!

“They come down, park where they like on double yellows and across our driveways, pay no attention to social distance in big groups and then they leave us with all their rubbish scattered everywhere and left for us locals to pick up.”

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood echoed calls from Dorset Police and the council for people to stay away and said he had asked the police minister to send additional officers if the force requested it.

Council leader Vikki Slade said: "The irresponsible behaviour and actions of so many people is just shocking and our services are stretched to the absolute hilt trying to keep everyone safe. We have had no choice now but to declare a major incident and initiate an emergency response."

Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty has urged people to follow social distancing rules in the hot weather or risk causing a spike in coronavirus.

He wrote on Twitter: "Covid-19 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."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also warned those enjoying the sun at beaches and beauty spots to take precautions against Covid-19.

He wrote on Twitter: "We all want to be outside and enjoying the glorious sunshine but if you are heading out please do it safely and stick to social distancing rules.

"We are making real progress in tackling this virus and we don't want to undo everyone's hard work.

"Please stay alert and save lives."