Southsea 'heaving' with crowds of people as Portsmouth City Council urges adherence to Covid-19 rules

THE council has urged people to stick to lockdown rules after large crowds of people gathered along the seafront in Southsea today.

Large numbers of people were seen strolling along Southsea Esplanade at lunchtime today, despite prime minister Boris Johnson urging people to stay home as much as possible during the third national lockdown.

It follows similar crowds forming in the area last weekend, prompting the council to place regulation signs along the popular seaside road.

Covid-19 marshals and council officers have also been talking to local coffee shops and takeaway services about their queuing systems.

The council believes the signs and the Covid-19 marshal patrols are having an effect – but there isn’t much more the local authority can do, Councillor Lynne Stagg said.

Cllr Stagg, cabinet member for traffic and transportation, said: ‘My daughter went out to walk the dogs and she said it was heaving.

‘People need to be maintaining social distancing.

‘It’s really simple – it’s not rocket science.

Crowds gathered along the seafront in Southsea Esplanade despite the lockdown restrictions. Picture: Simon Czapp/Solent News & Photo Agency

‘I think a lot of people are just ignoring (the rules), but it’s very difficult to judge.’

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Last weekend, concerns about crowds led to a section of the road – from Mozzarella Joes to the Blue Reef Aquarium - being closed.

The council also began to identify crowding hot-spots by flying drones with cameras along the seafront – but no drones were deployed this weekend, according to Cllr Stagg.

Southsea saw large numbers of people head to the shoreline today Picture: Simon Czapp/Solent News & Photo

The lockdown regulations means you must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’, according to government guidelines.

As well as work that cannot be done at home and essential shopping, this can include exercise with your household, your support bubble, or one other person maintaining social distancing.

Exercise should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

The Hants Response Cops Twitter account tweeted posted footage of the seafront and wrote: ‘Cosham D shift would like to remind people that we are in a national lockdown! It’s nice to see people out exercising. However, it is essential travel only and government guidelines still apply to meeting people outside.’

People walking on the seafront today Picture: Simon Czapp/Solent News & Photo Agency

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