High temperatures result in people packing Thanet beaches

Botany Bay today (May 20) Photo Katy Watkins

Hot weather has resulted in crowds packing out Thanet beaches and car parks.

Families have flocked to beaches including Botany Bay in Broadstairs, Minnis Bay and Margate.

It follows the easing of restrictions on public life earlier this month that means people are now able to exercise as many times a day as they like and can travel to outdoor destinations.

Concerns have been raised about social distancing and the lack of public toilet facilities as well as there being no lifeguard patrols.

Some public toilets in Thanet will be reopened from May 23-24 but these will only be at the main beaches.

Photo David Larkins

Minnis Bay has also attracted visitors with one resident saying: “Day trippers are urinating and defecating all over the surrounding bays.”

Photo Carl Hudson

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Officers continue to engage with anyone not following the Government’s instructions, explain why they are necessary and encourage them to take personal responsibility for adhering to the latest national advice. Enforcement through fixed penalty notices will only be used as a last resort.”

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Last week Margate businesses had appealed for visitors to stay away for the time being despite the announcement that people are now free to travel.

The Don’t Visit Margate campaign was launched on the Visit Margate page, and businesses including Peter’s Fish Factory, GB Pizza Co, Cliffs, The Lifeboat, and The Reading Rooms have signed up.

Margate Photo Chris Gadd

The don’t visit plea was also backed by North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale.

Kent Police last week issued a plea to follow social distancing after the easing of lockdown measures.

By contrast, quiet at the West Cliff Photo Daisy-May Stillman

Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: “It’s fantastic that the public response to tackling Covid-19 means restrictions have been eased but it is important to remember the restrictions could easily come back if the rate of infection increases to an unacceptable level.

Packed car park at Botany Photo Katy Larkins

“To avoid the rate of infection increasing, everyone needs to continue to abide by the social distancing measures. My officers will continue to be visible in our communities and will engage with those who need reminding, explain the restrictions that still apply and encourage them to take personal responsibility in the fight against the coronavirus.

Just a few swimmers at Ramsgate’s artificial beach Photo Daisy-May Stillman

“Throughout this pandemic, my officers and I have witnessed incredible acts of community spirit and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their compassion and resolve, however, we must not become complacent.”

Photo Friends of Botany Bay

Police will continue to address breaches, which include gatherings as well as people found trying to holiday or stay at a location other than their home in the county.

Visiting the homes of friends or family is also not permitted unless it is to support someone who is considered vulnerable or for medical purposes.