Beaches to be closed off if public continue to ignore social distancing rules, says Matt Hancock
26 June 2020, 08:06
The Health Secretary warned the British public that we're at risk of having beaches closed off.
Matt Hancock has threatened to shut down beaches across England following this week's chaos as thousands of bored Brits flooded to the seaside.
Yesterday, temperatures reached over 33C in parts of the UK and a major incident was declared at Bournemouth's packed out beach.
The whole of the coast was chaotic, with roads in gridlock, litter dumped all across the place and cars dumped everywhere.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council said it had no choice but to declare a major incident and condemned the "irresponsible" behaviour of crowds, some of whom got involved in fights.
It wasn't just Bournemouth who had trouble, as many beaches across the country's coast reported similar problems, with Brighton reporting eager tanners packing tightly together on the beach, ignoring social distancing guidelines.
In an interview with a radio station, Health Secretary Hancock revealed that he does have the power to close beaches and it could indeed be done if people don't comply by the rules.
He said: "We do have that power [to close beaches].
"I am reluctant to use it because people have had a pretty tough lockdown and I want everybody to enjoy the sunshine.
"But the key is to do it with respect for the rules – stay with your household, stay a good distance from other households."
However, he did add that as soon as the Governent see a spike in the number of cases they will then be taking action.
The Secretary of State also told the Daily Mail: "We musn't throw it all away. Keep to the rules or we risk going backwards."
Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty 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."