June 26, 2020 12.34 pm This story is over 48 months old

Lincolnshire councils will close beaches if necessary

If visitors continue to ignore social distancing rules

Health bosses have confirmed they would react in a similar way – including looking at beach closures – if Lincolnshire’s coast saw an influx of visitors like Bournemouth.

Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council declared a major incident on Thursday after more than 500,000 people flocked to the Dorset coast on the hottest day of the year.

It saw widespread anti-social behaviour, gridlocked roads and a massive amount of litter left on the beach.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has since warned that the government could close beaches if people continued to ignore social distancing.

Lincolnshire’s deputy director of public health Tony McGinty said this morning that the number of visitors to the East Coast had not been as bad due to the space available, but that there was a risk that if other beaches closed down it could get worse.

“If people feel some areas are not as welcoming as others at the moment they might start looking around to see where else they could go and have their beach holidays, but we are still monitoring traffic and visitor numbers and keeping an eye on our coast and country areas,” he said.

“We will react in a similar way to the, to the way Bournemouth has reacted if we feel that we have gotten an unnecessary level of risk going on.

“We’re lucky them at the moment we’re quite a long way off being in that position.”

The move would require the councils to work with the government if it wanted to close beaches, but there are other methods available to protect the area if needed.

Mr McGinty said he almost did not believe the reports of people “taking advantage of the freedoms that government has given us”.

“The virus is still out there you know we’ve registered another 150 deaths in England yesterday and then we see people sitting close enough to share an ice cream on Bournemouth Beach.

“I don’t want to be a killjoy. Do take advantages of freedoms of the summer in the outdoor space but come on, you’ve got to keep perspective on the safety rules whilst you’re doing those things.”