The social distancing message is not reaching everyone

Please remember the social distancing advice

Crowds gathering on the isle’s seafront and outside pubs and cafes appear to be ignoring government advice on social distancing aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Despite pub and restaurant closures, the relaxation on planning rules to allow venues to operate a takeaway service has attracted crowds who are not collecting and dispersing.

As of 9am today (March 21), 72,818 people have been tested in the UK, of which 67,800 were confirmed negative and 5,018 were confirmed positive. A total of 233 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died.

In Kent 45 people are confirmed as positive for the virus – up 13 yesterday – with a further 11 in Medway.

Confirmed cases in Thanet include one at Birchington Vale, another in Westgate, and a parent of a Chatham & Clarendon grammar student as well as an uncorfirmed number being treated at QEQM Hospital.

The UK has not yet reached the peak of the virus, estimated to be some 10 weeks away, and steps to halt the spread include closures of schools, hospitality and leisure venues and the advice for social distancing and social isolation.

Despite this, and the rising death toll in affected countries such as Italy, the message is not getting through to everyone.

The scene of people gathered on the seafront was pictured by a shocked isle dentist. They said: “I’m a dentist in a high risk job and people aren’t taking it seriously. I passionately believe people need to take this seriously or we’ll be in a worse state than Italy very soon.”

Similar scenes in Whitstable have been slammed on twitter by Canterbury City Council


Government advice

The government has urged the public to take steps to protect themselves and the wider population from the coronavirus, including:

  • Everyone to stay at home unless they need to get essential supplies such as food and medicines.
  • All those able to work from home to do so, unless their work is essential.
  • Only travelling if absolutely necessary – while public transport won’t stop, this should only be used for essential travel  – for example by key workers to travel to and from work.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

They are to:

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this.
  4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.

We strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:

  • are over 70
  • have an underlying health condition
  • are pregnant

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.

  • if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
  • if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days


  1. Well other than going shopping which is unavoidable it really isnt that hard to avoid people. unless of course you work and have no other options. People who give zero F**s really do need a kick in the backside

  2. I was amazed the amount of people not distancing themselves especially young teenagers and groups of adults I walked past the pizza place on marine drive they had still got there tables and chairs and their door open for people to go inside.very irresponsibil. Some people just shrugged their shoulders like they don’t care about others.when I went to get my medical medicines we were made to que putdide.

  3. A worker in Morrisons today said he was worried for himself and customers because they were not self distancing.
    I noticed it when waiting for a bus
    Or shopping in Morrisons.
    They are implementing measures next week. McDonald’s have squares for you to stand in.

    • For God sake I’ve been stuck at home with my son for 9 days really sick and desperately need food. I’ve not gone out of my home trying to be responsible and do the right thing for the safety of my community. What’s the point? Might as well go get us some food still unwell. No one’s offered any help were completely on our own here I have no family just my son and I. Sad thing is I don’t think anyone noticed. Then when you get people completely ignoring government guidelines anyway makes you question why bother.

      • Rachael

        stay strong and you are doing the right thing and we thank you, we to are self isolating, it isn’t fun, we to are running short and like you are thinking whats the point just go and que if we pass it on so be it, we have to eat. But like you we are staying away , life isn’t fair is it ? But remember Rachael people do care and appreciate what you are doing

      • Rachael: Go on Facebook and seach as there are several groups set up to help get supplies to those self isolating. Give them a message or call for some help. I am in the same situation and may have to do the same. There is supposed to be official help begining soon but am not sure how to find that as yet. I think ration books will have to come in to stop the greedy buggers taking the lot.

  4. These people are imbeciles. They are ignorant and believe it won’t happen to themselves or their families all the while their blatant disregard of government advice is threatening to speed up the spread of this deadly virus.
    These stupid fools obviously haven’t seen the carnage this virus has caused in European hospitals. I bet these idiots are also the ones that are making their elderly parents babysit their children against government advice so they can continue to socialise while the rest of the world is living in lockdown. These clowns don’t care that they are putting everyone else in harms way by continuing as though nothing is happening.
    These idiots will be singing a different tune when it’s their loved ones that are dying in hospital. It’s time to start prosecuting these selfish idiots, it’s the only way they will be encouraged to stop being dicks.

  5. Those people don’t care about anyone but themselves obviously. The tables and chairs should be removed by the council if they dont do it themselves. This situation is serious, these people can be the next to suffer of this indiscriminate killer virus then take it home to their families and friends. They are just prolonging it for everyone else. Selfish people who think they know better than everyone else. Go take a peek at Sky News and see what is happening in other countries 600-800 deaths from Coronavirus in Italy alone in 24 hours and that will be the UK in a few short weeks if these fools keep going out. And take your children indoors too, they were sent home from School on friday, not for a holiday but because they should be safer indoors away from others. Please take this serious people and keep everyone safe!

  6. Why cant people do their bit to keep others safe & themselves ?
    Other photos/information on other social media has mentioned police dispersed the cluster of lager bottle swingers.
    Hopefully the premises that sold the bottles of fizzy lager,will make changes to their licensed business to prevent further events.
    They could remove their bistro style table&chairs or manage the customers better with a reduction of tables & chairs with a 2m exclusion area !
    During these troubled times.Please dont give the authority’s an incentive to close you down.

  7. Oh dear – oh dear – oh dear

    Society has reached a worrying stage when it is considered more unhealthy to be outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine than it is to be cooped up indoors . . .

  8. Why can’t people take advice of experts and act in a responsible manner, it’s not that difficult to use your brain is it?

  9. I was shocked to see so nany people out on Broadstairs seafront on saturday and tables outside takeaways -inviting people to gather! But you cant blame people for wanting to be outside. Not everyone has a garden and kids and dogs need exercise. We’ve had mixed messages from government about how to behave and the frightening escalation of the disease is in other countries so far. We’re supposed to be delaying the peak of the disease so as not to overwhelm the NHS. What a terrifying thought – that our health service might not be able to cope! As as SONIK has been pointing out for years now, the NHS needs investment not cutting back. It was already in crisis and at last this government can see that. Let’s hope its not too late.

  10. I think we can all see how much Thatcher f**ked this country with her me,me,me approach and screw you policies.

    People really dont care about other people, lots of works are being put at risk to keep the country going yet these selfish people couldnt give a fig.

    I know of a fair few families that are seft isolating, and it isnt fun. But with these horders its forcing seft isolating families to send a member out every other day to get food and loo rolls because the shops are bare. Its bloody madness people need to get real this is serious.

    I wasnt to worried until a few days ago, now I am really scared these selfish people want rounding up and thrown in some old run down building and fed bread and water for putting so many people at risk. Selfish selfish selfish.

      • Whilst it’s good , its is mostly the older generation that use the church for friendships and comfort. It would be good to remember to keep an eye out of them, make sure they are ok but remember to keep your 2 meter gap.

    • You would think the almighty they spend their lives praying to would send them down some immunity protection for them as gratitude, or even better just eradicate it altogether.

  11. Government advice on it all re: mental well-being says:
    “You can also go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others.” If you are not at risk or self isolating. Thanet is ideal for this, on a positive note. You should highlight this in articles. Positivity is good for the immune system. Fear does the opposite.

    • Well I’m absolutely positive that there are a huge number of numpties out there that obviously feel quite positive that they are safe.
      Of course a bit of positivity will not make a jot of difference to a virus and its transmission.

  12. I take my husband out twice a day for a drive just to get out change of scenery he has dementia and stroke problems but we do not get out of car. Today Sunday at 9am tescos carpark was full with people with trolleys all around the outside of the car park waiting to get in, so much for social exclusion,.Dont these people realise that all they are doing is prolonging this outbreak and isolation for old and vunerable people

  13. You only need to look at the person nearest the camera to realise they probably have a very good chance of underlying health problems. To them it’s a balance of catching Corona virus v an extra helping of Sugar and saturated fat. I’m not sure everyone will choose wisely

  14. Snow flake generation who’ve never been told NO! Hope Rachael gets the help she needs. Is she your neighbour? Agree with comment about the Thatcher fall out. I was bringing up 4 children when she was PM and gave me a 10p increase for child allowance. She also famously said ” there is no such thing as society” I refer you to the above picture, that’s her legacy. I’ll keep reminding anyone who thinks she was anything other than an evil person.

  15. I walked along marine drive again today Sunday it looked like the pizza place might have been open someone inside pulled down a blind I looked at something on the window we have nothing of value for people to have while we are closed.Is that what they think of their customers and visitors none of the other cafe and bar owners put such such nasty on their windows.A place to avoid when they reopen.

  16. The fat bloke in the front of the photo is auto self-isolating.
    No one could get anywhere near 2m close to him!

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