Stark social distancing message issued by Public Health chiefs in Kent

Visitors to Thanet beaches

Public Health chiefs in Kent have issued a stark message ahead of the weekend – you are risking your life and the lives of others if you do not behave responsibly.

Despite the easing of government lockdown guidelines, a public health crisis still exists with nearly 5,000 people suffering from Covid-19 in the county.

However, demand at East Kent hospitals has been considered lowered enough to stand down volunteer workers.

Kent, Medway and the coastal district and borough councils reported last weekend that many people who flocked to the coast and to country parks were not sticking to social distancing guidelines. There was also litter left lying around, cars parked all over the place and, with many public toilets closed, people urinating and defecating on the beaches.

On behalf of the Kent Resilience Forum, Director of Public Health at Medway Council, James Williams, said “There is still a danger of spreading Covid-19 and it is absolutely vital that Kent and Medway residents, as well as anyone visiting the county’s beaches and open spaces, continue to social distance to help everyone stay safe. If people do not follow the guidelines and behave responsibly, the virus will start to spread rapidly once again.

“We have all been affected by coronavirus over the past few months and appreciate that more people will want to enjoy some of the additional freedom we have been given, especially during the warmer weather. However, there are still measures we should be taking to protect ourselves and others, including washing our hands regularly.

“As part of the government’s Stay Alert messaging, I would encourage residents living in Kent and Medway to observe the social distancing rules at all times. Thank you to communities who have pulled together to support others during these difficult times and to residents for continuing to follow government advice and protecting our NHS.”

It’s feared that the easing of government restrictions could lead to people becoming complacent and dismissing the warnings. Members of the resilience forum say things are not back to normal and we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

At the Downing Street press conference on Thursday, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said it was “essential” people stayed two metres apart, warning the risk had not gone away.

The Kent Resilience Forum is urging residents to continue to listen to government advice, follow the guidelines and prevent the infection rate of Covid19 from increasing in the county.


  1. Not mentioned here is the thoughtlessness of many runners, joggers and cyclists in Thanet on footpaths intended for more slow moving pedestrians , who both seem to be oblivious of the 2 metre rule, and to be unwilling to slow down or change their direction when encountering people who are lees mobile

    • Totally agree, sick to death of having to grab my 2 year old out of harms way when we are out because of cyclists thinking everywhere is a free for all, with no thought for anyone else. Pegwell bay country park and where the viking ship is are awful for cyclists they go way to fast and there are many blind turns but they just don’t care. They expect you to get out the way or grab your children to stop them being run over by them, while they refuse to slow down. If you are on a shared path where children will be walking they need to understand you can’t go as fast as you want, if you want to do that, stay on the roads!

      • Most cyclists are okay, but there are some utterly selfish ones . They are the ones people notice, of course.

      • The biggest problem on our shared use cycle/walking routes is out of control dogs.
        They present two hazards.
        1st, because they run higher and thither, from one person to another, to other dogs and their owners, they are providing a vector for the transmission of the virus. What’s the point in social distancing if your dog isn’t?
        Secondly, the esplanade are part of Regional Cycle Route 15, and part of the Viking Trail. It should not be a surprise that there are bikes on a bike route.
        It would help all round if you kept your dog(s) under control whilst on the cycle route.
        You wouldn’t let your dig loose on the A299 would you?

      • Since we are on the subject of cyclists I wouldn’t go so far as to disallow cycling but I would like to make one request of those of you who enjoy cycling along coastal paths.
        I take my little Westie for her daily walk, always keeping her on a short lead. My problem is that we do not always walk in a straight line because I prefer her to have a little wander and sniff around as we go along and, being a terrier, that is frequent and not always in a straight line. Cyclists are often very quiet and if coming from behind not easy to hear over the sound of waves and on several occasions have only just missed us. It would therefore be polite and a safety precaution if cyclists are instructed to ring their bell when they are about to pass anyone who has their back to them but they never do.
        If cycling is permitted to continue then, for the safety of pedestrians, perhaps cycle paths could be marked out along all promenades just as they are along roads. Many keen cyclists go along at quite a high speed and could seriously hurt someone but it seems that as things are now the safety of the cyclist is considered more than the safety of pedestrians.

        • Cycling is permitted on Regional Cycle Route 15 because it’s a cycle route.
          I absolutely agree that in ‘mixed use’ areas like the Esplanade, there should be a marked cycle lane, to which cyclists should stick. By the same token, joggers, walkers and those exercising their dogs should stay out of it.
          I don’t think it is right to have your dog loose on a shared use facility, because you can’t control it. Best to keep it on a short lead in such circumstances. And, just like you would in a country lane walk facing the oncoming “traffic”, then you can see cyclists coming towards you, and they can see that you’ve seen them.
          A shared use path is just that: it’s shared.
          There is plenty of space if we all use it thoughtfully.

          • I think you should read my post all the way though Tony then you will see that I clearly stated that my dog is always on a short lead. And how on earth can we always face ‘oncoming traffic’? There are no lanes like there are on a road!!!! Are you suggesting we should walk backwards so that we know if a cyclist is coming?
            I also made it clear that I would not want cycling banned so, naturally, I agree, quote, that ‘a shared path is just that: it’s shared’. I am always considerate and all I am asking, as are many others, that cyclists are also considerate and use their bells to warn if approaching from behind. Is that too much to ask?

    • Got to agree with the cyclists bit. A lot (not all) are rude and arrogant. A “shared” cycle and pedestrian zone is not a racing track but unfortunately a lot of these cyclists think that once they put the Lycra on they are entitled to hog the whole path and race at speeds that are a danger to pedestrians, children and animals.

      The cyclists always blame the pedestrians or dogs even when they are racing at Stupid speeds making it impossible for them to stop in time to avoid an accident . It’s time these arrogant lane hogging cyclists started to look at their own actions rather blaming everyone else.

      And the Lycra outfits ! They look ridiculous.

      • I think all dogs should be on short leads when in public places- streets, the esplanade, the clifftop walks in Ramsgate, for example.

  2. I have had problems with cyclists and i only walk over my local shop 2 mins away. They ride on the pavement without a care , i am to old to get out of their way quick enough .

  3. Same with the new e-scooters everyone is riding along on. These are still illegal to use on roads and pavements but they zoom past without any warning.

  4. Public Health chiefs and Kcc offering advice,they have the power to implement local restrictions but they only offer shock & scare advice which has proved not to really work.
    The public has seen through shock & scare advice but public health England & kcc refuse to use their vast power.
    Thank’s to kcc its more likely many more locals will get ill.

    • People will get ill not because of anything KCC do or don’t do, but because though ignorance or indifference they are not observing the social isolation rules.

  5. Also, why isnt smoking and vaping banned? You stand 2 meters behind someone vaping in a que and the vape that has ccome out of there lungs engulf you, sure this must be banned?

    • Indeed – the plumes of vapour that issue out of their mouths clearly illustrate the volume of air expended when somebody breathes out.

      Sometimes it is like walking behind a steam train and they have no consideration for those around them.

    • Well i am a smoker and we all banned from smoking inside places , thats fair enough, i never smoke in front of others not even my dog , i go in my garden , sadly we have to stand in ques outside a shop but whats wrong with turning your back? you will get more fumes down your lungs from the passing cars .As for walking behind one why do you do it? just dont walk to close if you dont like it

  6. Nearly ran down by lady on a speeding bike on Lonsdale Avenue a few days ago. She almost fell off trying to avoid me, I sometimes wish she had. Going round blind corners at speed is lethal for any pedestrians that might be there. In fact I might be safer walking my dog in the road as most cyclists are on the pavement it seems. I did say why are you on the pavement and she replied, “Well I did apologise”. So that makes it fine then, never mind they don’t really care.

  7. Some good points raised in the comments. I too think it’s inconsiderate of joggers hogging the footpaths expecting others to step off into the road to let them pass I can see some poor elderly person getting hit by a car . Also would hope no one with covid would be outside vaping . To be on the safe side agree a ban in public areas . I wish one of those so called journalists would start asking questions about these issues when they have the opportunity. Repeating the same questions in a different way is getting mundane.

  8. I run every other day, and to overtake run in the road to ensure 2m. and am often thanked for it. I am conscious of blind corners, where you could run straight into someone, so clap several times to warn oncomers. No-one has sworn at me.

    • Bright Isle – thankfully you are one of the more considerate joggers and Yes I would acknowledge anyone exercising or walking keeping appropriate distance politely. Glad no one has sworn at you . swearing at people is not what I do either.

  9. The main problem ,though,is that the UK is still too near its peak of deaths and infections.
    Yesterday, like previous days, there were over 300 (officially admitted)deaths in the UK, more than all the other European countries put together.
    We are just not as far along the way with this.
    I fear that the government sees that other counties are slowly opening-up and doesn’t want to be seen to be hanging behind. But we ARE badly behind and have been since the start.
    Given the levels of infection, and , so far, the poor handling of the Track and Trace process, it is simply too soon to be opening schools and suggesting that we can start meeting in groups wherever we want to go.
    It looks like the new , less onerous, restrictions , are being decided by what makes Johnson look good, NOT by what the risk is!

  10. Can cycles explain why for years they have been a pain to road user, s but during lock down with very few cars on the roads they have taken to riding on footpaths beside the roads with no thought to the public walking on these paths.often coming near us well under the 2 mtrrule a d the fact it is illegal to cycle on most foot paths time they learnt to behave but I won, t hold out much hope of that.

  11. Cyclists are road users. Some, the thoughtless minority, have always cycled on pavements – at least sometimes, some perhaps always. If roads were safer, if drivers drove more slowly and looked out for pedestrians and cyclists, perhaps cyclists would feel and be safer on the roads.

    Can car drivers explain why some of them park on pavements?

  12. A walking stick through the for t wheel spokeswoman normally fixes the problem of errant lycra louts !

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