Coronavirus: Sun-seekers spark emergency incident at British beach
BOURNEMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM (AFP) – An English seaside resort declared a major incident on Thursday (June 25) after thousands of people flocked to the beach to take advantage of soaring temperatures, despite the threat of coronavirus.
The day after Britain recorded the hottest day of year with highs of 32.6 deg C, local authorities in Bournemouth said they were “appalled” at the scenes on its beaches.
The arrival of thousands of people resulted in gridlock on the roads, widespread illegal parking and overnight camping as well as anti-social behaviour including drunken fights, they said.
Visiting the beach is permitted after a nationwide coronavirus lockdown was eased, but people are still being urged to avoid large crowds, and pubs and restaurants do not open until July 4.
Council leader Vikki Slade said Bournemouth, on the southern English coast, was not ready to receive so many visitors and urged people to stay away.
“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,” she said.
Declaring a major incident allows the council to deploy additional resources, including police.
But Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya of Dorset Police said his force was also “reliant on people taking personal responsibility”.
“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,” he said.
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