Britons have been banned from sunbathing just as temperatures begin to soar after covidiots continued to flout lockdown rules on the weekend with activities including windsurfing, beach barbecues and even an adult baptism.
There was anger yesterday after one London authority closed a park after reporting thousands of visitors flocking there to lounge around in the warm weather after a wet and miserable winter.
Asked the clarify the rules today, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman confirmed that anyone caught sunbathing could be fined, saying: ‘People should not be going to parks or beaches to sunbathe. It goes against our rules on essential movement.’
A policeman with a megaphone was seen ordering sunbathers to leave a park in south London over the weekend, while on Brighton beach officers doused a barbecue with seawater scooped up in their helmets.
Police now face their biggest enforcement challenge yet with temperatures set to soar to 75F leading up to the Bank Holiday weekend, although No10 today ruled out a ban on exercise, as previously hinted by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
It came as England, Scotland and Wales declared 434 more deaths caused by the coronavirus, taking the UK’s total to 5,368. The statistics are a ray of hope as the daily death count has fallen for the second day in a row.
Police try to move on a sunbather yesterday on Primrose Hill, London, where some people flouted lockdown orders
Thousands of Britons went to open spaces yesterday to enjoy the sun, including in Southwark Park in London
Officers went onto Brighton beach yesterday to ask sunbathers to go back home and self-isolate
The Prime Minister’s spokesman today confirmed that public sunbathing was not allowed. Pictured are police asking two men to leave Greenwich Park yesterday
Lambeth Council in south London decided to shut Brockwell Park near Brixton yesterday after 3,000 people descended on it to enjoy the warm weather.
Police moved people on in north-west London’s Primrose Hill and rules were breached on the south coast too, but the consensus in Government is that the public are largely cooperating.
Britain is set for a sizzling weekend as hot air blows in from Africa
Britain could reach a sizzling 24C (75F) this weekend thanks to an 800 mile-wide wave of heat coming in from Africa.
After today’s mild conditions, temperatures should climb throughout the week before a sizzling weekend.
Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: ‘Spring is in the air, with heat coming from as far south as Africa and further warm temperatures in the next week.
‘Sunday’s 21C eases after overnight showers to 18C on Monday, but temperatures rise again with 20C on Tuesday, then 22C or 23C – with a slim chance of 24C – on Wednesday and Thursday.
‘Even the North is forecast 19C. Good Friday could see 23C, with 20C highs through the Easter weekend, with the South and East best placed to hold onto fine weather, but the North and West most at risk of rain and clouds at times.
‘Easter is usually a busy travelling time but it is important people follow instructions and stay home and save lives. Enjoy the weather from your window or garden, if you have one.’
There had been public confusion over whether it is acceptable to sit down and enjoy the sunshine when once-daily exercise is condoned under the official guidelines.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that the were no plans to ban outdoor exercise – as hinted at by Health Secretary Matt Hancock at the weekend.
But he added: ‘People should not be going to parks or beaches to sunbathe. It goes against our rules on essential movement.
‘We did set out very clearly the reasons why people should leave their houses and sunbathing was not one of them.
‘We gave the police powers to implement those guidelines and it’s up to them to exercise discretion over how they do so.’
Sunny, warmer-than-average conditions are set to continue this week, with a peak of around 75.2F (24C) forecast for Wednesday and Thursday in southern England, the Met Office said.
Simon Kempton, Operational Lead for conronavirus at Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers faced a ‘monumental’ problem over the weekend with parks packed with sunbathers.
He said that ‘one or two’ officers were having to disperse ‘hundreds’ of people at a time – with many trying argue with them.
Mr Kempton told the Home Affairs Committee: ‘The vast majority of the public get it, they understand why this is so important and it’s inconvenient and would rather it wasn’t the case, but they get it and they want to comply, they want to help, they want to do their bit.
A police officer uses a megaphone at Southwark Park to announce sunbathing is not allowed, but exercise is
Passers-by saw an adult baptism taking place yesterday in a lake in Solihull, West Midlands, despite police demands to stay inside
‘But there are still a minority of members of the public who simply do not wish to comply with the restrictions.
‘And we saw over the weekend with the nice weather, some of my colleagues having a monumental task, one or two officers to empty a park with hundreds of people in it.
Britons ‘maliciously’ try to get their own back on their neighbours by calling police to suggest they are flouting rules
Some Britons are ‘maliciously’ trying to get their own back on their neighbours by calling police to suggest they are flouting coronavirus lockdown rules.
Peter Goodman, the chief constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, said 11 per cent of the calls his force had received over the weekend had related to the pandemic.
Peter Goodman, chief constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, on a videolink for the Home Affairs Select Committee today
Mr Goodman told the Home Affairs Select Committee this afternoon: ‘Some of it about things taking place in public spaces, some of it also about people entertaining at their home addresses as well.
‘We do believe some of that is a little misguided. A bit of it may be malicious – getting your own back on your neighbours.
‘But the vast majority of it has been concerned members of the public doing the responsible thing.’
He added that the force had given out 30 fines so far in relation to breaches of the rules, half of which were over the past weekend.
Chief Constable John Robins, from West Yorkshire Police, said since the lockdown powers came into force, his officers had spoken to 1,200 people and issued 20 fines.
Chief Constable Garry Forsyth, from Bedfordshire Police, where the power to issue fines came into force at 7am on Friday, said they have issued one, while North Yorkshire has issued 11 since Thursday.
‘And most of those individuals wanted to argue their case as to why they were doing something within the guidelines.
‘What would help perhaps is engaging the public on an emotional level so more of them wanted to comply, not just that they felt they had to comply, but they wanted to comply.’
Elsewhere this weekend, police extinguished a beach barbecue with a helmet in Brighton while windsurfers were fined for driving 125 miles from the West Midlands to North wales to enjoy the waves.
Footage showed two Sussex Police officers pouring water on the flames at Brighton beach on Saturday.
Twitter user Dave Strauss filmed the officers’ confrontation with two people sat at the seaside.
Uploading the video, he wrote: ‘The ceremonial extinguishing of the bbq using a beach patrol guys helmet. Then tried to eat his wet sausage.’
Social media users commented underneath branding them ‘morons’ and ‘bloody idiots’.
Police say the couple became abusive towards Police Community Support Officers when asked to leave.
They have been summonsed to court and will be charged under the new Coronavirus Act, The Argus reports. A 31-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman were told to return home.
It came after two windsurfers were fined after driving 125 miles from the West Midlands to North Wales to enjoy the waves as police blasted their non-essential trip.
The pair travelled to Gwynedd from Birmingham despite the nationwide lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
North Wales Police said they went to Black Rock Sands in Porthmadog to head out into the sea despite people being told to only travel for essential reasons.
The force said that if they had got into difficulty in the water, they could have tied up valuable resources.
A spokesman said: ‘Today two males from the West Mids area were reported by concerned members of the public who spotted them wind surfing at Black Rock Sands, Porthmadog.’
A biker was spotted taunting a police officer in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, who was trying to approach him on a bicycle.
The motorbike rider mocked him in footage in which he could be heard saying: ‘Come on, nearly, f****** hell.’
Police in Brighton confronted two people who were having a barbecue on Brighton beach on Saturday amid the coronavirus lockdown
A video filmed on the weekend showed a biker (left) mocking a policeman trying to enforce the lockdown
Two young men ignored the coronavirus lockdown and leapt into the River Irwell (pictured) in Manchester yesterday
A woman is told to go home yesterday by a police officer in London’s Primrose Hill to stop the spread of coronavirus
People in Roath park in Cardiff are spoken to by police yesterday after flouting the coronavirus lockdown
In another breach of the lockdown, one family travelled 122 miles for a day at the beach.
The group flouted strict rules to make the two hour and 20 minute round trip from Bromley, south east London, to Folkestone in Kent.
They were let off with a warning as the council reminded residents ‘this is not a public holiday’.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s chief medical officer resigned after she admitted to ignoring her own lockdown advice.
Dr Catherine Calderwood had earlier apologised live on TV after being given a police warning for twice visiting her family’s coastal retreat in Earlsferry, Fife, more than 40 miles from her main home.
It came after Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, (pictured) resigned after she admitted to ignoring her own lockdown advice
Last week Dr Calderwood, 51, tweeted a photo of her family from their main residence in Edinburgh as they clapped for the front-line NHS staff working to stop the spread of Covid-1
Dr Calderwood’s second home in Earlsferry, Fife, is 44 miles away from Edinburgh – a drive of around an hour
In a press conference beside Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today, Dr Calderwood said her actions were ‘a mistake and human error’ and that were ‘no excuses’.
Dr Calderwood issued an apology and was initially backed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to remain in the role.
Photographs, published in The Scottish Sun on Saturday, showed Dr Calderwood and her family near their coastal retreat in Earlsferry, Fife, over the weekend.
In the press conference, Dr Calderwood also admitted to visiting the cottage with her husband the previous weekend.
Social distancing ‘heat map’ reveals people in Middlesbrough are most likely to flout the new ‘stay at home’ rules designed to curb the spread of coronavirus
A new coronavirus heat map shows that Middlesbrough has the worst offenders when it comes to flouting the ‘stay at home’ rules during the coronavirus crisis.
The ‘COVID-19 heat map’ from NHS-backed health record app Evergreen Life shows people in the North Yorkshire town have been going outdoors the most.
Liverpool and Wandsworth in southwest London, meanwhile, are some of the regions where people have heeded the stay at home advice best.
Residents of Hull, East Cambridgeshire and Babergh in Suffolk are reporting the lowest level of symptoms per household, as of this weekend.
While parts of Wales including Swansea are reporting the highest percentage of households with symptoms, the app also reveals.
The COVID-19 heat map, which claims to help stop the spread of the illness, takes daily symptom and social distancing updates from users, excluding key workers.
Heat maps for regions where people reported not staying at home (pink, excluding key workers) and staying at home (blue). The deeper shades indicate higher percentages. 25 per cent of survey respondents from Middlesbrough said they are not staying indoors – the highest in this particular data set for Saturday. Arun, West Sussex (98.4), Ryedale (98.3) and Wandsworth (97.9) residents are heeding the stay at home advice the most
No symptoms in households (green) and symptoms in households (yellow). The deeper shades indicate higher percentages. Swansea had the highest level of symptoms reported for Saturday (25 per cent), while Hull had the highest ‘no symptoms’ reported (97.5 per cent)
Each set of data is visualised in both colour-coded graphs as well as a map for the app and website for each set of data. The app is being updated daily, with Sunday’s data set to be revealed Monday afternoon
Evergreen Life is encouraging Brits, whether or not they have symptoms, to download their free app, submit their symptom and social distancing status and contribute to the map.
After downloading the app for iOS or Android, users need to tap the ‘Records’ section on the home screen and take the ‘Healthy at Home Check’.
‘You can help track the spread of COVID-19 by joining the thousands of people across the UK,’ said Evergreen CEO Stephen Critchlow.
‘This will show the benefit of self-isolation and staying at home. Please download Evergreen Life and ask your friends and family to do the same.’
The Evergreen Life website said the map builds an accurate national picture that can help track the outbreak.
The app is already sending notifications to users to take the COVID Check regularly and encouraging anyone who has already answered to do so again, to track the change in symptoms over time.
More than 26,700 Evergreen Life users so far have responded to the survey on their behaviour to help build the map, which can also be viewed on a desktop.
It shows data in four categories – households with reported symptoms, households with no symptoms, respondents staying at home and respondents not staying home (excluding key workers).
As of April 4, the trackers shows that 25 per cent of survey respondents from Middlesbrough said they are not staying indoors, followed by 20.7 in Enfield, Greater London.
Also among the worst offenders for leaving the house were East and North Hertfordshire, which both had 17.6 per cent of respondents not staying at home.
The best at staying at home were the people of Ryedale, North Yorkshire, at 98.3 per cent; Wandsworth in southwest London, at 97.9; Arun in West Sussex, at 98.4 per cent; Liverpool, 97.5 per cent; and Adur, also in West Sussex, 97.5 per cent.