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Coronavirus second spike fears spark plea over Bank Holiday weekend trips to coast

PUBLISHED: 17:45 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:50 21 May 2020

People have been urged to think twice before heading to the Norfolk coast over the Bank Holiday weekend. Picture: Chris Bishop

People have been urged to think twice before heading to the Norfolk coast over the Bank Holiday weekend. Picture: Chris Bishop

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People have been urged to consider sticking to outside space near their home this Bank Holiday weekend, rather than heading to the Norfolk coast.

Louise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk. Picture: Ella WilkinsonLouise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

The plea has been made by public health experts, council bosses and police chiefs in an attempt to head off situations where people swarming to the same spot spreads coronavirus.

With good weather forecast, partners of the Norfolk Resilience Forum, made up of organisations including councils, the blue light services and the NHS, are reminding people to stay away from crowded places, such as the coast, and to maintain social distancing at all times.

Tom McCabe chair of the NRF Strategic Coordination Group and head of paid service at Norfolk County Council, said: “It’s understandable that people want to get out and enjoy themselves.

“But we need to do this in a sensible way to avoid increased risk or placing additional stress onto not just the NHS but wider services, like our coastguard.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey. Photo : Steve AdamsChief Constable Simon Bailey. Photo : Steve Adams

“We need to understand that the restrictions have been ‘eased’ and not lifted completely. We need to move forward sensibly and it is not possible to immediately go back to as things were previously.

“Rather than jumping in your car this weekend and heading to the Norfolk coast or other popular spots, a sensible approach would be for us to continue enjoying outside space that’s near to where we live.

“If you go somewhere and it looks busy, then go somewhere else. Do the right thing, protect yourself and look after your family by not adding to the crowd.”

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk’s director of public health, said: “People tend to take their lead from what others are doing. This means if we think that more people are doing something that we want to do, we’re more likely to do it too. This is how crowds build quickly.

Protect Norfolk campaign poster. Picture: Norfolk County CouncilProtect Norfolk campaign poster. Picture: Norfolk County Council

“Before we make plans for the weekend, we need to remind ourselves that as we start enjoying the outdoors more and travelling further afield, we are creating more opportunities for the virus to spread. Not just through proximity to other people in crowds but other ways such as refuelling your car or using a car park machine.

“Wherever we go, taking hand sanitizer and tissues with us are ways in which we can continue to the good habits of keeping clean hands and catching coughs and sneezes that will help reduce the risk to ourselves and protect others.”

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said there would be extra police officers at the coast, given the numbers who have headed there this week.

He said: “I’m not going to make a plea to avoid the coast this weekend as I recognise how important fresh air and exercise are in the current crisis, but what I would encourage anybody that’s considering going to the coast to do is to think about social distancing.

Protect Norfolk campaign poster. Picture: Norfolk County CouncilProtect Norfolk campaign poster. Picture: Norfolk County Council

“Think about the risks, to yourself and others and also think about the way that you drive there and where you park your car. It cannot be abandoned, which then hazards other road users.

“In addition, please be respectful of the communities that live along our coastline.

“Let’s try and be respectful of each other, let’s work together to overcome this as we have done it’s felt to me from the outset. We need to come together to protect ourselves and protect Norfolk.”

The Norfolk Resilience Forum recently launched its Protect Norfolk campaign to encourage people to keep heeding advice despite the lockdown easing.

Tom McCabe. Photo: SuppliedTom McCabe. Photo: Supplied

Last weekend saw daytrippers accused of being ‘selfish’ by staff at Waxham Sands Holiday Park.


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