LGA statement on beach safety and social distancing

“It would be a tragedy if our collective efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are undone in a way that leads to a resurgence of this deadly virus that puts further lives at risk.”


Crowded Bournemouth beach

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“It is understandable that people want to enjoy the sunshine and councils are working hard to reopen public spaces and find safe ways to help people enjoy good weather this summer. However, lives depend on all of us taking personal responsibility for our actions. Some of the scenes we have seen in recent days have been unacceptable.

“When large numbers of people head to the coast there is inevitably a risk of overcrowding and an increase in the rate at which COVID-19 could be transmitted.

“It is hugely difficult for a council to keep beaches open to the public while also limiting the number of people who visit. Closing beaches in one area may also simply shift the problem elsewhere.

“Councils and the emergency services cannot be left to manage this issue alone. The Government can help councils by stepping up efforts to educate the public on the specific risks posed by ignoring social distancing in tourist environments.

"Rail companies need to enforce rules around face coverings on public transport and, alongside Highways England, can help control numbers by using signage to give plenty of warning about overcrowding so people can change plans.

“It would be a tragedy if our collective efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are undone in a way that leads to a resurgence of this deadly virus that puts further lives at risk.”