Those who flock to seaside after lockdown lifting must behave responsibly, warns Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has warned people to behave responsibly when visiting seaside resorts as the hospitality and tourism sectors gear up to open again on Saturday.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 1:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 1:54 pm

Speaking in the Commons, Boris Johnson said the scenes in Bournemouth where sun seekers flocked to the beach were “completely unacceptable”.

During Prime Minister’s Questions Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “The Prime Minister can’t just bat away challenge. These are matters of life and death, other people’s livelihoods.

“An example of this, last week the Member for Hove (Peter Kyle) asked the Prime Minister how can seaside towns be expected to cope with likely influx of visitors to beaches and parks during the hot weather?

Boris Johnson at PMQs. Photo: PA

“The Prime Minister replied, show some guts. Two days later Bournemouth beach was closed with 500,000 visitors, a major incident was declared. Does the Prime Minister now regret being so flippant?”

Mr Johnson replied that he was making it “absolutely clear that as we go forward with our plan, our cautious plan for opening up the economy, it is very, very important that people who do represent seaside communities, places where UK tourists will want to go, should be as welcoming as they can possibly be”.

He added: “But it is also vital that people have to behave responsibly and that is why the scenes in Bournemouth were completely unacceptable and that is why we stick to the advice that we have given.”

Sir Keir said the issue is a “concern” as there is nationwide lifting of lockdown restrictions this weekend “without an app, without clear data for local authorities or the world-beating system we were promised”.

He added: “I support the easing of restrictions but unlike the Prime Minister, I’m not blind to the risks and I don’t think anybody else should be.”

Sir Keir said: “Of the 22,000 new cases of Covid infections per week in mid June, just 5,000 were reached and asked to provide details. So now three quarters of people with Covid-19 are not being reached. How does the Prime Minister explain that?”

Mr Johnson replied: “As he knows very well the test, track and trace operation is actually reaching huge numbers of people and causing them to self-isolate in ways I don’t think he conceivably could have expected a month ago when this system was set up.

Mr Johnson added that the Test and Trace system “has now reached 113,000 contacts, 113,000 contacts who have undertaken to self-isolate to stop the disease spreading”.