Sections of Southsea's seafront road to remain closed at weekends to prevent 'large gatherings'

RESTRICTIONS on seafront roads and car parks in Southsea will continue indefinitely to prevent 'large gatherings' amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Monday, 30th March 2020, 5:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 1:05 pm
Hundreds of people make their way to Southsea beach on 22nd March 2020 despite Government warning of coronavirus. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Until further notice sections of Southsea's seafront road will be closed on weekends and bank holidays and seafront car parks will only be open to residents and permit holders.

It comes after Portsmouth City Council and the police introduced restrictions at the weekend (March 28-29) to reduce the risk of infection.

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Council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: 'I know the vast majority are acting responsibly however, everyone needs to act responsibly and follow the national guidance.

'The last thing we want to do is close public spaces, we know how important they are for people's mental health and wellbeing and it is fine for residents who live within walking or cycling distance of the seafront to use it for their daily exercise.

'What we can't have is large numbers of people travelling into the city to visit the seafront that goes against government's rules on essential travel and creates problems around social distancing. The steps we are taking are aimed at stopping people driving to Southsea.'

Following social distancing guidelines the council has also closed play equipment wherever possible, including playgrounds and sports courts. However, there is still public access to fields and open space around them.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: 'People are suggesting the council close other sites such as parks, but at the moment we aren't doing this because we don't want to deprive people of green space.

'We will keep monitoring the situation and working with the police, hopefully people will act responsibly but if they don't we may have to take action.

'My message to everyone is please follow the national guidance including social distancing rules and check the council website for the latest local updates.'

The seafront road (part of Clarence Esplanade and Eastney Esplanade) will be closed at weekends, from 6am on Saturday to 6pm on Sunday, with an extension on bank holidays. For example, over Easter weekend it will be closed from 6am on Good Friday to 6pm on Easter Monday.