21 May 2020 18:31
Crowds of people have been flocking to the coast as the temperatures are rising. Pictures show thousands of sun seekers catching rays on Southend beaches as the temperatures hit 25C. It comes as Southend Council drafted in measures to help with social distancing on the seafront.>> Medical expert slams seafront beach-goers for 'making a mockery' of covid-19 crisis The promenade between Chalkwell and Southend Pier has been temporarily widened to keep people socially distant while using the seafront. The widened promenade has been made possible by a contraflow system installed by the council.>> Fears of 'second spike' in Southend as daytrippers from 200 miles away flock to seafront The system allows cars to travel in both directions, but with a reduced lane width. All parking bays along the Western Esplanade are out of use, giving the public a great deal of extra space.
The seafront water fountains have also been turned off in a bid to dissuade visitors. An Essex Police spokesman said: "There is no law to enforce social distance, it's Government guidance. "The focus for police is now narrower - on those activities which are now not lawful or which are not listed as a reasonable excuse for being outside. "When we come across situations like this then our approach is, and always has been, to engage with them, explain the restrictions and encourage them to do the right thing. "We've found that approach is really working. People in Essex really get what they've got to do and we thank them for that. "As a result, out of the 10,000+ engagements we've had with the public since the restrictions came into force back in March, only a small fraction of those have had to result in enforcement. "Our focus remains protecting and serving the people of Essex and officers remain out in Southend, and across the county, catching criminals and keeping people safe."