The British government has pleaded with the public to continue to observe the patterns of social distancing after thousands filled England’s beaches on Thursday and thousands more held Liverpool’s first championship in 30 years outside the club’s Anfield stadium.
Officials in southern England declared a “major incident” on Thursday after crowds flocked to Bournemouth and Sandbanks, Dorset beaches on the hottest day of 2020 thus far.
The area was overrun with cars and sunbathers, leading to stalemate, and the local council issued 558 parking enforcement fines, a daily record.
Trash crews were also abused and intimidated in trying to remove mountains of debris from the boardwalk, and there were a number of incidents related to heavy drinking and fighting.
“We want people to enjoy outdoor spaces and we want them to enjoy leisure facilities like the beach, but we also don’t want to see case numbers go up again, so we are asking people to obey the guidelines for social distancing, “Downing Street said. spokesman said Friday.
The UK government will consider closing the beaches if there is a “spike in infections,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in an interview with British Talk Radio on Thursday night.
“If we see an increase in the number of cases, we will take action,” the cabinet minister said.
Hancock asked the public to “follow the social distancing [advice], “which remains in place” for a reason “.
“The virus does not respect the fact that it is a hot summer day, the virus is spread by social contact,” he said.
“That is why we still have social distancing,” he added.
Hancock urged the English not to throw away “all that good work,” but added that he was reluctant to close beaches since “people have had a pretty tough lockdown.”
Britain is in the process of easing its closure restrictions, which have been in place since March.
Groups of up to six people can now gather outside in England. But Downing Street warned on Friday that if coronavirus case numbers increased, the government would establish local blockades.
England’s beaches weren’t the only reason for Thursday’s crowds.
And while Assistant Police Chief Rob Carden thanked the “overwhelming majority of fans” for acknowledging that “now is not the time to get together to celebrate,” he urged fans to avoid gathering and celebrating in their “social bubble.” .
“In the coming days, we urge supporters to do the right thing and celebrate safely with your household members and in your social bubble. By doing this, you, your family, friends and neighbors will be safe.
“As we all know, Merseyside has been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and we must all do what we can to prevent new cases and deaths in our communities.”
“We understand that people will be jubilant that Liverpool have secured the league title for the first time in 30 years, and the time will come when fans can return to Anfield to applaud the team and celebrate their achievement.”
CNN has reached out to Liverpool for comment.
CNN’s Rob Picheta and Luke McGee contributed to this report.