the British break the rules imposed by the government and go in thousands on the beaches of the Dorset coast.
A major incident was declared after thousands of people denied to follow the rules of social distancing and chose to hang out on beaches in Bournemouth and other stretches of the Dorset coast.
Major incident declared in Bournemouth
BCP Council, the local authority said it was forced to instigate a multi-agency emergency response to tackle issues ranging from overcrowding on the beaches, traffic gridlock and violence. Security guards had to be used to protect refuse collection teams.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said that he had the power to close the beaches if people did not respect social-distancing rules.
He also added that if there was a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases “then we will take action”.
The Bournemouth East MP, Tobias Ellwood, said “A lot of people have chosen to be not just irresponsible but dangerous.
We’ve made such progress tackling this pandemic. I’d hate to see Bournemouth be the one place in Britain that gets that second spike.”
The council leader, Vikki Slade, said that we were absolutely appalled at the scenes witnessed on our beaches. 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 but to declare a major incident and initiate an emergency response. He also added that the numbers of people descending down here are like those seen on a bank holiday. We are not in a position to welcome visitors in these numbers now.
The council said services were left “completely overstretched” as visitors arrived in huge volumes resulting in widespread illegal parking, gridlock on roads, excessive waste, antisocial behaviour including excessive drinking and fights and prohibited overnight camping.
Even the health secretary, Matt Hancock, threatened to close beaches if physical distancing laws were not adhered to. In line with Hancock’s statement, the chief medical officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, urged people to follow physical distancing rules in the hot weather or risk causing a spike in Covid-19.
Queue for hours
Some visitors had to queue for two hours to get into Bournemouth and car parks were full by 9am on Thursday. BCP council issued 558 parking enforcement fines within a few hours and the number is the highest ever.
Not only that, people queued for 30 minutes at ice-cream vans and refreshment stalls on the promenade as a police helicopter hovered overhead. At one point a dozen police officers and security guards stepped in as tempers briefly flared between two sets of teenagers.
Increase safety controls
Phil Horton, 57, from Bournemouth, said: “The number of people here makes me very nervous. There’s absolutely no respect for social distancing. It seems like everyone has forgotten we are living in a pandemic.” Actually extra police patrols were put on. Sam de Reya, Dorset police assistant chief constable, said that these are unprecedented times. We are urging people to stay away from the area of Bournemouth beach and other Dorset beaches.