Coronavirus: Government urged to change advice to ‘stay local’

Durdle DoorImage copyright
Andrew Matthews/PA

Image caption

Thousands flocked to the Jurassic Coast to enjoy the sunny weather at the weekend

Coronavirus guidelines on travel should be changed to “stay local”, Dorset’s two council leaders have urged.

Thousands of people flocked to Durdle Door beach on the Jurassic Coast at the weekend and Bournemouth beach was also packed.

Dorset and Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) councils warned crowds could lead to a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Current rules state that households can drive any distance in England to destinations such as parks and beaches.

In a statement, Dorset Council leader Spencer Flower said there had been “extremely disappointing behaviour” by members of the public at beaches in the county.

On Saturday three people were airlifted to hospital after tombstoning from the limestone arch at Durdle Door Beach.

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Media captionThousands of people flocked to Bournemouth beach on Sunday

‘Second wave’

Mr Flower said: “My plea to the government is to review the unrestricted travel guidelines currently in place and require people instead to ‘stay local””.

“The current guidelines have a disproportionately negative effect on areas like ours which are popular with visitors but do not have the infrastructure to cope right now.

“I am worried that we will see a second wave of infection here in Dorset as a result of the high number of visitors to the area over recent days.”

His counterpart at BCP Vicki Slade said she had witnessed a number of cases of “people failing to adhere to social distancing rules and of illegal parking, widespread barbecues and council staff being abused when going about their work”.

She said local MPS should press for a five-mile travel limit for non-work purposes, or risk fines.

Bournemouth’s official tourist board posted a picture on social media of a crowded beach, with the words: “Too many people, too little respect… Have some humanity… Stay away.”⁠

It follows Brighton City Council arguing for more powers from government to implement its own lockdown, after huge crowds have filled its parks and beaches.

BBC News

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