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Coronavirus UK: Crowds flock to Blackpool ahead of Lancashire lockdown

The Independent logo The Independent 20/09/2020 Emily Goddard
a group of people standing in front of a store © Provided by The Independent

Warm weather saw visitors flock to Blackpool over the weekend despite authorities warning against having a “last blast” in the resort town ahead of the introduction of tighter coronavirus restrictions in Lancashire.

Footage showed crowds of people on the promenade on Saturday and people reported queues for attractions, gridlocked traffic, little social distancing and few people wearing masks indoors.

Police had said they were preparing for large crowds over the weekend.

One visitor, Gem Concannon, 36, from Northwich, Cheshire, said she had never seen it as busy as it was on Saturday.

“It was heaving, hardly anyone was wearing masks or social distancing. It was shocking,” she said.

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Terry Woods, Lancashire Constabulary’s deputy chief constable, told potential visitors on Friday to resist the urge to go to Blackpool. 

“What we need to do is focus on protecting yourself and your family,” he said.

“Make sensible decisions to protect yourselves, going to Blackpool in mass numbers is quite the opposite of protecting yourselves.”

Dr Arif Rajpura, Blackpool’s director of public health, also issued a warning on Friday about the dangers of gathering in the area over the weekend and urged people to adhere to the rule-of-six restrictions, practise social distancing and wear masks.

Gallery: Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak around the UK (Photo Services)

He said: “The special measures that have been announced by the government across large swathes of the north of England over the past 48 hours illustrate that nowhere is immune to this sort of intervention.”

Extra measures, ordering pubs and restaurants to shut by 10pm and preventing households from mixing in homes, will come into force to tackle rising coronavirus rates in Lancashire on Tuesday.

Blackpool, however, is run by a separate unitary authority and will not be subject to the restrictions.

a group of people walking down the street: People walk along the beach front at Boscombe beach in DorsetPA © Provided by The Independent People walk along the beach front at Boscombe beach in DorsetPA

Infection rates in the seaside town are lower than in some parts of the county, but the area has seen an increase in positive cases.

Elsewhere, crowds were seen gathering in Dorset to catch the last of the summer sun as temperatures peaked at 25C in the UK.

Police in Dorset had urged residents to play their part to prevent the spread of coronavirus and warned that anyone flouting the rule-of-six measures over the weekend may be subject to fines.

Martyn Underhill, Dorset police and crime commissioner, said: “I can appreciate that many people feel weary about what feels like yet another set of regulations coming into force, but sadly Covid-19 is still with us and we all have a duty to stop its spread.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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