Thousands of bathers in England braved the coronaviruses’ social estrangement on Thursday as they flocked to the coast to enjoy the hottest day of the year in the UK thus far.
Police have urged people to stay away from the southern coastal city of Bournemouth, where council leaders have declared a “major incident”.
LONDON STREET ILLEGAL PARTY LIKES VIOLENTS, FOREIGNERS CRUSH POLICE CARS AT LEAST 22 INJURED POLICE
“The irresponsible behavior and actions of so many people are just shocking and our services are stretched to the limit trying to keep everyone safe,” said council leader Vikki Slade. “We have had no choice now but to declare a major incident and initiate an emergency response.”
The beaches of Bournemouth and Brighton were full of bathers who ignored the rules of social distancing on what meteorologists confirmed as the hottest day of the year. The temperature reached 92 degrees Fahrenheit (33.3 degrees Celsius) at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Slade said she was “absolutely horrified” by the scenes witnessed on the beaches, particularly in Bournemouth and Sandbanks on the last day or two.
Laura Miller, a local councilor, told the Guardian that when she tried to turn people away, “they would yell at her and swear at her and a guy spit on me.”
“These are people who have traveled three or four hours in their car, are hot and grumpy, and then reject them,” said Miller. “Some drivers have ignored our barriers and knocked them down and passed.”
EU CONSIDERS TO PROHIBIT US TRAVELERS FROM OPENING, CALLS CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE, SOURCES SAY
The council statement gives additional powers to local authorities and emergency services to safeguard the public.
Additional police patrols have been incorporated and security measures have been put in place to protect waste pickers who, according to the council, faced “widespread abuse and intimidation” when they emptied the overflowing containers. Roads were blocked for hours and signs have been erected that tell people the area is full, according to the council.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson notified that several closure restrictions will be reduced on July 4, including the possibility of pubs and restaurants opening their doors. It also effectively announced that the two-meter (6.5-foot) social distancing rule will be reduced to one meter (about three feet) from that date, a move aimed primarily at boosting business.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The move has come in for criticism because the UK is still registering relatively new coronavirus infections and deaths. On Thursday, the government said 149 other people who tested positive for the virus had died, bringing the total to 43,230, the highest number in Europe.
Associated Press contributed to this report.