Coronavirus: 'No lifeguards on beaches', coastguard warns

  • Published
Perranporth beach, Cornwall
Image caption,
Social distancing guidelines will still need to be observed on beaches and in other public spaces

Coastal towns around England have urged visitors to stay away this weekend, as lifeguards warned the "majority" of beaches would not be patrolled.

With warm weather expected in many places, there are fears people will flock to the seaside after updated government guidance was published.

Tourism bosses in seaside towns have warned attractions will remain closed.

HM Coastguard urged those heading to the beach this weekend to "respect the sea and the coast".

In a social media post, it warned that most beaches "would not be lifeguarded" and said people should "take extra care" regardless of "ability or experience".

Sea swimming is now allowed as daily exercise in England, as well as paddle boarding, surfing, windsurfing, rowing, kayaking and canoeing.

Sailing and the use of private boats are also permitted under the changes.

In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, where lockdown rules remain in place, people should continue to remain at home, the coastguard said.

'We're still closed'

The reminder came alongside calls for people to avoid visiting the country's coastal regions, including:

Image source, Eddie Mitchell
Image caption,
The leader of Brighton council warned none of people's "favourite places" would be open

HM Coastguard director Claire Hughes said: "In England, now more than ever, people need to respect the sea and the coast.

"Whether you're local or not, whatever your ability or experience in your chosen sport or leisure activity, the sea can still catch you out and be unmerciful when it does."

Image source, Blackpool Council
Image caption,
Blackpool's "traditional attractions" are closed, according to the town's council

Ms Hughes stressed people who get into trouble should still call 999 and they would "come to your aid".

She said: "Remember your choices might put people, including yourself and front-line responders, at risk.

"Take extra care in these extraordinary times".

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