Merseyside Police horses Silver and Oxberry patrol Formby Beach

People are being urged to take “every precaution to keep yourself and your community safe” after thousands of people crowded onto beaches in Southport and Formby two weeks ago. 

Local residents and visitors are being asked to avoid the coast if they can, and to maintain social distancing guidelines at all times. 

Following the guidance is vital more than ever after evidence suggested that the R rate, the rate of transmission for coronavirus, has risen above 1 for the North West. 

MPs in coastal towns around Britain are encouraging people to stay away from the seaside and to be sensible when leaving their homes. 

Southport MP Damien Moore said: “For weeks there has been a local effort to encourage residents and tourists to avoid visiting our coastline.

“It now appears that the R rate across the North West is back above 1.

“Local businesses in Southport have already incurred substantial financial losses from this crisis, with many closing their doors indefinitely, and we have on average one of the oldest populations in the country who are more at risk by this virus.

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“It would be a disaster if the strict lockdown measures implemented at the beginning of this pandemic had to be re-imposed locally because of a second wave.

“Please take every precaution to keep yourself and our community safe.”

Images posted in Stand Up For Southport two weekends ago showed thousands of people on beaches at Southport, Ainsdale and Formby, leading to concerns over the spread of coronavirus. It also led to a huge clean-up operation for Green Sefton workers, part of Sefton Council. 

Local residents also voiced their anger over the high volume of cars, and obstructive parking. 


Cars queueing at Ainsdale Beach in Southport. Photo by Susan Prue

Cars queueing at Ainsdale Beach in Southport. Photo by Susan Prue

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said: “Sefton’s coastline is stunning, and we understand why people want to visit, especially when the weather is nice. However, it’s really worrying that people are ignoring Government advice and appear to be completely ignoring social distancing guidance.

“As well as risking their own safety, and the safety of our local residents, the state in which some of those visitors have left certain parts of our coastline is simply an insult to our local communities.

“We also understand that many people living in our coastal areas have experienced an increase in parked cars.

“Sefton Council is doing everything it can to address the issue and our enforcement officers were issuing parking tickets all weekend to cars parked irresponsibly and dangerously. “We have restricted access to the car parks and worked with Merseyside Police to restrict access to local roads, but the real answer is people taking responsibility for their behaviour and showing some consideration for others.”

Other coastal MPs also want people to think twice before visiting beaches. 

Brighton Pavillion MP Caroline Lucas said: ‘Local businesses in Brighton are already suffering hugely from this crisis.

“It would be a disaster for them if strict lockdown measures had to be re-imposed locally because of a rising infection rate partly brought about by thousands of visitors.

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“To visitors who love coming to Brighton, we love having you, but I’m asking you now – please, stay away until the city is ready to welcome you.”

South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray said: “We see waves at the beach but the wave I do not want to see is a second virus wave caused by too many people coming to our fabulous coastline.”

St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double said: “Whilst people have the freedom to travel to visit beaches, we would ask people to continue to be responsible.

“If you arrive and a beach looks full then please don’t go onto the beach, it’s very important that if people do visit they maintain social distancing.”

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