Thousands of people flocked to Skegness and other coastal resorts over the weekend, prompting outrage across the country and a viral video from a furious local business owner.
Official guidance advised people to stay at home to curb the spread of coronavirus and to maintain social distancing, but this fell on deaf ears for the crowds seen in the Lincolnshire town, despite attractions Butlins and Fantasy Island both being closed.
Dr Mitchell Clark, owner at Cygnet House Dental Studio, which is not too far from Skegness in Hundlby, Spilsby, had already closed his business. He said in a viral video that he views the actions of the crowds in Skegness and the businesses still open as “massively socially irresponsible”.
In his video, which has been viewed over 44,000 times, he explained that he is socially isolating and had driven to a deserted section of beach to walk his dog. On his drive home he said he was appalled to see Skegness looking like it does on a busy summer day.
He said: “Local business owners like me: Please close now. People will respect you when this is over, and people will judge who did what when this is all finished.
“I, for one, will not ever frequent a local business that chose to open at a time of crisis purely for their own financial gain.”
Councillor Craig Leyland, Leader of East Lindsey District Council has called on local businesses to close.
Marc Jones, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, and Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, have also spoken out on the situation and both urged people to be responsible and stay at home.
Time for everyone to be socially responsible or be made to be. These caravan sites & arcades must be closed and quickly. Lincolnshire’s health and 999 services cannot and should not be facing 100s of thousands visitors on top of residents to support. I will be raising urgently. https://t.co/3fFiVAHtcF
— Marc Jones PCC (@MarcJonesLincs) March 21, 2020
Updated government guidance couldn’t be clearer: Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence. https://t.co/MevKQFnGg5
— Matt Warman MP (@mattwarman) March 22, 2020
Skegness was not the only seaside town reported to have been busy over the weekend.
West Wittering Beach in Chichester closed on Saturday afternoon after the number of visitors far exceeded exceptions. Large crowds were also seen in other resorts including Brighton and Hove, as well as along the East Yorkshire coast.