Crowds of people flocked to Southport and Formby on Wednesday during the hottest day of the year so far.
People reported chaotic scenes with motorists descending on sites including Southport Beach, Ainsdale Beach, Formby Beach and Southport Promenade.
Traffic was brought to a standstill in Formby with large queues keen to enjoy the sunshine.
Around five miles of queues were reported along Brooms Cross Road heading towards Formby and Southport.
But the scenes raised fears that the large numbers of people and lack of social distancing is putting lives at risk from coronavirus, with the Merseyside area among the worst hit for cases and deaths of patients with Covid-19.
Glad I didn’t go to Formby beach today ? pic.twitter.com/PVkVqrmzaM
— Lee Siemaszko (@leesiemaszko) May 20, 2020
Speaking on Stand Up For Southport, Dave Cox said: “Isn’t the idea of furlough, to stay at home, so you don’t go into work and infect your fellow co-workers, not plan days at the beach with hundreds of people, or did I miss something here?”
Patricia Yates said: “Please stay away and contain any virus where you live ! It makes sense ! Please !!!!!xxx”
Margaret Hughes said: “Do they not understand or just not think it applies to them.”
Betty Jax said: “This is the beginning of the second wave…. Nightingale hospitals are ready for them all. Stay safe don’t let your guard down.”
Speaking on Twitter, Mandy Owen said: “If this was you today in Southport, don’t worry about clapping tomorrow night.”
If this was you today in Southport, don't worry about clapping tomorrow night. pic.twitter.com/dRriimGYR2
— Mandy Owen ??? ???? (@hatemornings) May 20, 2020
Formby councillor Denise Dutton said: “I was actually directing traffic this afternoon while @NTFormby had furloughed their staff.”
Last week, the Government eased its lockdown measures meaning people can now spend as much time as they want outdoors, meet with one other person and even sunbathe outside, providing they keep two metres apart from others.
People can also drive to an outdoor destination, providing they maintain social distancing rules.
Sefton Council last week urged people to stay away from beaches in the borough.
Sefton Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing Cllr Ian Moncur said: “I can fully understand that with the government easing the guidelines on when and where people can take daily exercise people want to be out and about.
“However, I would strongly urge people across our Borough and the North West to put their safety and the safety of others first and not head to our beaches where they could put each other, our local communities and council staff at risk.
“I know our beaches are tempting but they are not able to cope with high levels of visitors at the moment.
“The beach car parks at Ainsdale and Southport will not be open and generally parking will be very limited. Public toilets will remain closed to ensure social distancing and the safety of cleaning staff and bins are not in use so people would need to take their litter home with them. Additionally, there will be no Lifeguard patrols taking place.
“I hope people will put their own and others’ safety first and visit their own local parks and green spaces rather than travelling longer distances to potentially crowded locations.”
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