Southsea seafront pulls in crowds as Portsmouth MPs say people 'must adhere to social distancing'

CLEAR skies and warmer weather have drawn crowds to the city’s seafront this weekend.

Sunday, 28th February 2021, 2:44 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th February 2021, 5:48 pm

After almost two months under lockdown restrictions, residents made the most of the weather as Eastney Esplanade and Canoe Lake proved popular on Saturday.

Under current lockdown rules, exercising outdoors with one person from another household with social distancing is permitted.

Penny Mordaunt MP for Portsmouth North, has backed calls for people to stick to the rules after a leading expert warned of ‘worrying signs’ that lockdown adherence is waning.

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Southsea seafront on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (270221-28)

Ms Mordaunt said she understood the draw of the warmer weather, but called on residents not to throw away progress curtailing Covid-19 in the city.

The MP said: ‘I know why so many people will want to be out in the better weather, spring feels like it has sprung, but we must still adhere to social distancing.

‘By following the rules, we’ve halted the spread of the virus across Portsmouth.

‘As we progress with the vaccinations it is vital it doesn’t take hold again.

People relaxing at Canoe Lake, Southsea, on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (270221-29)

She added: ‘Thank you to everyone for all the care you are taking.’

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Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said: ‘This has got to be the last lockdown. Whilst we are all excited about the easing of restrictions in the coming months, that all depends on our collective actions in the coming weeks.

‘For the sake of our NHS and the dedication of those who have been beating this deadly virus on the frontline, we must continue to do all we can to stay at home to save lives.’

Southsea seafront on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (270221-30)

Speaking on Friday, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, said: ‘Please don’t be tempted to think, “Well, one home visit might be alright now the weather is getting better, going to be a nice weekend, one small gathering in your house won’t really matter”.

‘So my key message tonight is look, this is all going very well but there are some worrying signs that people are relaxing, taking their foot off the brake at exactly the wrong time.’

Under the current plan for lockdown easing, socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will be permitted from March 8.

As of March 29, groups of up to six people or two households will be allowed to gather in parks and gardens.

By May 17, two households or groups of up to six people may be allowed to mix indoors, with all remaining restrictions hopefully lifted by June 21.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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