Officials in southern England declared a “major incident” after thousands of locals flooded beaches in the area.
Beaches in Dorset, Bournemouth and Sandbanks were photographed with huge crowds gathered on the sand as residents welcomed one of the hottest days of the year so far on June 23.
The pictures coming out from the UK today of people packed together on Bournemouth beach are scary. pic.twitter.com/WSBRWcQY4k
— Sara Firth (@Sara__Firth) June 24, 2020
According to a statement released by the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, beach-goers flocked to enjoy the sunny day on the beach despite being advised to stay away.
Council Leader Vikki Slade said, “We are absolutely appalled at the scenes witnessed on our beaches, particularly at Bournemouth and Sandbanks, in the last 24-48 hours. 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.”
Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya, of Dorset Police, said, “These are unprecedented times and we are urging people to stay away from the area of Bournemouth Beach and other Dorset beaches. We continue to work very closely with BCP Council and other partners to ensure the safety of the public.
“The declaration of a major incident allows us to bring agencies together so we can take actions available to us to safeguard the public as much as possible. We are also reliant on people taking personal responsibility and strongly advise members of the public to think twice before heading to the area. Clearly we are still in a public health crisis and such a significant volume of people heading to one area places a further strain on emergency services resources. We would therefore stress again that we are asking people to please stay away from the area.”
In Cape Town, water sports and visiting the beach remain against regulations despite appeals from provincial government and residents.
@UsforThemUK @UsForThemScotl1 we have scenes like this at beaches and parks across the UK, but our children can’t get an education? This is truly a national disgrace 😢 BBC News – Coronavirus: Ministers ‘reluctant’ to close beaches over crowdshttps://t.co/qiVjMBxBPx
— Duncan Stewart (@Duncan9474) June 26, 2020