People urged to avoid beaches despite changes to lockdown rules

People across Merseyside are being warned not to go to the beach this weekend.

Earlier this week lockdown guidelines were relaxed with the government telling people they are now free to spend as much time outdoors as they wish to, providing they stick to social distancing advice and keep two metres apart from others.

People are also now able to meet up with one other person who doesn’t live in their household – again as long as they follow the two metre rule – and can even spend time sunbathing and enjoying a picnic.

With a dry weekend forecast across Merseyside and warm temperatures expected from Sunday, it’s likely that many people will want to be spending more time outdoors, as the lockdown continues.

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But today, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Ian Moncur, has urged people not to visit the coastline’s beaches.

He said such spaces are unable to cope with a high level of visitors, so spending time at them could put people at risk of spreading and catching the coronavirus.

The council has confirmed that beach car parks at Ainsdale and Southport remain closed, along with public toilets, to ensure social distancing and the safety of staff who would be required to clean them.

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And people are being reminded that barbecues on the beach are not permitted.

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Cllr Moncur said: “I can fully understand that with the government easing the guidelines on when and where people can take daily exercise people want to be out and about.

“However, I would strongly urge people across our borough and the north west to put their safety and the safety of others first and not head to our beaches where they could put each other, our local communities and Council staff at risk.”

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He added: “With the data showing that Merseyside region which has a significantly higher death rate than England and the rest of the North West, it is important that people continue to stay home as much as possible and maintain the effort to reduce transmission of this still dangerous virus.

“I know our beaches are tempting but they are not able to cope with high level of visitors at the moment.

“The beach car parks at Ainsdale and Southport will not be open and generally parking will be very limited. Public toilets will remain closed to ensure social distancing and the safety of cleaning staff and bins are not in use so people would need to take their litter home with them. Additionally, there will be no Life Guard patrols taking place.

“I hope people will put their own and others’ safety first and visiting their own local parks and green spaces rather than travelling longer distances to potentially crowded locations.”

The Council is asking people to report any large gatherings to the police by dialling 101 or to greensefton@sefton.gov.uk

Across Sefton, children’s playgrounds, outdoor gyms, dog areas and pavilions and buildings in parks remain closed.

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