Mirror Online: Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Thousands of beachgoers are pouring into Dorset’s coastline despite local authorities begging them not to come after a serious cliff-jumping incident.
Scenes of crowds crammed together on the sand as two helicopters touched down sparked nationwide outrage as social distancing measures were clearly flouted.
Dorset Council attempted to close Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove throughout Sunday by blocking roads and parks amid the UK’s coronavirus lockdown – but a local carpark landowner described today’s crowds as ‘chaos’ yet again.
Brits have been left staggered to see crowds of thousands pouring to the seaside tourism hotspot today, as police were called to the scene to deal with overcrowding.
And Dorset locals have despaired at the piles of rubbish left by Durdle Door beachgoers amid following yesterday’s drama.
The council had to close an access road to the neighbouring coastal village of West Bexington, shortly after it announced it was closing access to the two major beaches.
Shocked locals filmed the scenes enroute to Durdle Door today, as lines of cars snaked their way along an access route to the popular sun-trap.
Twitter user Pash Stratton posted a video of the scenes today after the council had announced it would be turning away people trying to attempt the beach.
His footage captured lines of cars parked along roadsides as beachgoers piled up.
He wrote: “So this is #DurdleDoor right now. Something really needs to be done. There is not a mask in sight or a care in the world. @BorisJohnson, this lockdown needs to tighten.”
The Dorset Echo reported that the beach area carpark landowner Lulworth Estates said the parking space was open and full.
James Weld, on behalf of Lulworth Estates, told the local news site the situation as “chaos” and the parking operator felt they had little choice.
“We have decided that the car parks should be opened today as the public will still travel to the coast and if we do not provide parking they will park anywhere they can, returning to the chaos that ensued immediately following the relaxation of restrictions on May 13.
“This is proving to be the case with our staff reporting that the main car parks are already full.”
As the numbers of people heading to Dorset beauty spots increases we are urging the public to respect our local communities and to stay safe.
The local authorities are among coastal settlements pleading for help dealing with lockdown tourists, after the government said people in England could drive as far as they want.
Dorset Council and Dorset Police issued a joint statement today as crowds ignored the barriers and warnings not to come and flocked to the beach yet again.
Dorset Council’s Corporate Director and duty Gold Command Officer Jonathan Mair said: “It is vital that everyone continues to act responsibly. This weekend, with continued good weather, the number of visitors to the county has increased significantly.
“This is putting pressure on local beauty spots and beaches and we are seeing people not able to social distance properly.
“Unfortunately a number of people are parking inconsiderately and sometimes dangerously. We have taken measures to close a number of roads in the county today for safety reasons.
“If an area is busy, please head home and don’t add to the crowds. Our priority is to protect residents and visitors health and wellbeing and for them to stay safe.”
The Government’s health advice has not changed – we all still need to stay at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of the virus.
And Assistant Chief Constable Mark Callaghan, of Dorset Police, said: “The images circulated from Durdle Door yesterday show that too many people made the decision to go the beach rather than going elsewhere.
“The critical incident that occurred in this area demonstrates how important it is to act responsibly and not overcrowd our beaches.
“If an emergency situation arises, we need to be able to clear an area to allow for the treatment of seriously injured people.
“As there were too many people on the beach, we had no option but to put people together into allocated areas to allow helicopters to land.
“Yet again, we would remind the public that if an area looks too busy, please go home or elsewhere.
“We enforce the law and not Government guidance or advice so we are unable to enforce social distancing, the wearing of masks or avoiding public transport.
“I am encouraging you all to do the right thing to avoid spreading the virus and reduce the impact on local communities.”
Yesterday’s scenes let to outrage as some Brits demanded beachgoers at the popular tourism spot self-isolate.
The packed scenes on a baking Saturday were labelled ‘insanity’ by Good Morning Britain co-host Piers Morgan.
The crowds who were forced to cram together then file out of the narrow-access spot led to concerns a Covid-19 cluster will emerge among beach-goers.
It came as some warned Brits are acting like the lockdown is already over, despite the UK’s official virus death toll closing in on 40,000 – putting it among the worst rates in the world.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under fire for announcing lockdown easing changes on Thursday allowing socially-distant gatherings of up to six people, ahead of a sunny weekend.