The Government Is Threatening To Close Down Beaches If People Don't Social Distance
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Matt Hancock has warned the government will close down beaches if people do not respect social distancing.
The Health Secretary made the comments as thousands flocked to the beach on Thursday - the hottest day of the year so far.
"Major incidents" were declared at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole yesterday, with officials reporting "completely overstretched" services, gridlocked roads, abusive drunken behaviour and illegal parking.
In total, 500,000 visitors headed to Dorset's coasts which is nearly the population of the entire county.
Making the comments on talkRADIO, Hancock warned the government could shut down beaches if scenes like this continue and rates of coronavirus spike.
"We do have that power. I am reluctant to use it because people have had a pretty tough lockdown and I want everybody to be able to enjoy the sunshine," he said.
"But the key is to do it with respect for the rules - stay with your household, stay a good distance from other households.
"But we do have those powers and if we see a spike in the number of cases then we will take action."
Brits were enjoying the hottest day of the year yesterday, with the Met Office reporting highs of 33.3C at Heathrow Airport, surpassing the 32.6C recorded in London on Wednesday.
Speaking on the packed beaches, the UK's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, warned coronavirus cases "will rise again" unless people adhere to social distancing.
He tweeted: "Covid-19 has gone down due to the efforts of everyone but is still in general circulation.
"If we do not follow social distancing guidance then cases will rise again.
"Naturally people will want to enjoy the sun but we need to do so in a way that is safe for all."
The current official government advice for social distancing states that you should keep two metres apart from people not in your household or support bubble at all times and avoid public transport other than for essential journeys.