There are fears Britain’s coastline in particular could see an influx of frustrated families making the most of the more lenient measures after weeks of being stuck indoors during the coronavirus crisis.
The Norfolk Coast Partnership has sent out a plea to the public to stay away from its coastline for the moment so the area is not ‘overwhelmed’.
Dorset Council and the Visit Peak District and Derbyshire tourist board are telling people to ‘think’ before travelling, to act responsibly and protect the local community.
Cumbria’s local resilience forum has sent a thank you message to holidaymakers who postponed their trips to the area after visitor numbers last weekend were ‘lower than anticipated’.
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It said: ‘The message remains that the county is not quite ready for visitors to return in their usual numbers.’
Cumbria’s public health director Colin Cox said: ‘I continue to urge people to keep their Lake District plans on hold as we grapple with the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak in the county.
‘I understand that people may feel their individual visit won’t cause a problem, but when thousands of people have the same idea then that has the potential to create genuine issues.’
The Metropolitan Police Service has also warned people against gathering in public places in the capital this weekend.
Deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor, the gold commander this bank holiday weekend for the Met’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, said: ‘During the upcoming bank holiday weekend, officers will continue to patrol London and engage with the public to explain what restrictions are in place in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through unnecessary group contact.
‘We expect that members of the public will be going outside this weekend to enjoy open spaces alone, with members of their household or another member of a different household, but we ask that they respect the lockdown restrictions that are in place.
‘We have been made aware of a number of proposed plans for gatherings this weekend and we can only reiterate the importance of sticking to the government guidelines.
‘Restrictions around activities that do not support social distancing remain the same, meaning that group sport, outdoor barbeques or parties, and other gatherings are still not permitted.
‘Officers out on patrol this weekend will continue to encourage and support our communities to comply with the restrictions to reduce the risk to public health.
‘We do not wish to use means of enforcement, but where deemed necessary, officers will take action against those that disregard restrictions and enforcement will be sought as a very last resort.
‘The vast majority of the public have been adhering to the restriction set by the government and we thank them for their continued efforts to observe the revised rules.’
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Underwood said the numbers of people arriving at Bournemouth and other beaches in the county were an issue.
When put to him whether the numbers arriving were becoming a problem on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: ‘Yes, they are. And of course there is the obvious dilemma of the lockdown reducing and normal policing picking up starting to realise itself.
‘For example, yesterday was the busiest day for Bournemouth police for nine weeks – it was a normal Friday but yet the police were the busiest they have ever been because things are starting to pick up and numbers are increasing.’
Although Brits were pictured flocking to the beaches in the sunny weather this week, the Met Office says it is expected to be unsettled and windy in the North with showers or longer spells of rain this weekend.
It says there will be scattered showers on Saturday in the South, but it will become dry, settled and increasingly warm.
Representatives of the New Forest National Park in Hampshire tweeted that the beauty spot is ‘on high fire alert’.
It added that no barbecues or campfires are being allowed, and ‘rangers will be out again this weekend with other organisations to keep people and wildlife safe’.
Coastal visitors will find many car parks, public toilets and local businesses are still closed, along with many local businesses, the Norfolk Coast Partnership said.
Manager Estelle Hook said: ‘In many places on the coast there is not the infrastructure to support the necessary social distancing or to ensure that visitors have the facilities they would usually expect, such as car parks or toilets.’
She added the organisations responsible for looking after the coastline want to welcome back visitors ‘but at the present time it is safer to stay away’.
Jo Dilley, managing director at Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire, said: ‘We know it’s tempting to visit the places we’ve all missed so much, but until we can give you the warm welcome we all want, we ask visitors to think carefully before travelling to the area and to stay local if possible this bank holiday weekend.
‘Following the renewed government guidelines, we’ve already had reports of large crowds at tourist hotspots where it was almost impossible to stay two metres apart, putting the safety of our local communities at risk.’
The RNLI issued a warning to potential beachgoers stating that its lifeguards ‘can’t be everywhere this summer’.
Anyone who ventures out should check the weather and tide reports, keep an eye on their families and should not use inflatables, it said.
The message was backed by Dee Cafari, the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions.
She tweeted: ‘Enjoy the weather but please be aware. Things are different right now so we need to act responsibly.’
Edmund King, AA president, suggested it is ‘not surprising’ that thousands of day trippers will want to enjoy some of the best surf beaches in the UK.
He said: ‘While understanding the frustrations of the police and locals, it is obviously difficult for individuals to know how busy an area would be until they get there.’
Calling for the rules to be clarified in order to take pressure off picturesque coastal and rural areas, he said: ‘Perhaps the government should have delayed easing leisure trips until after the bank holiday to avoid this situation, but drivers should also think about how far they need to travel to enjoy the great outdoors safely.’
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