Coronavirus: Sunbathers could return lockdown ‘to square one’ by descending on parks and beaches – The Sun

THOUSANDS of sunbathers flocking to beaches and parks over the bank holiday weekend could drag Britain back to "square one", says Matt Hancock.

Last night, police chiefs said that people were becoming blase about social distancing as the health secretary pleaded with Brits to be sensible this weekend.

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With the combination of a Bank Holiday weekend, the start of half-term and temperatures hitting 22C, the government has pleaded with the public to obey the two-metre distance rule this weekend.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Matt Hancock said: "Let's not go back to square one.

"We can all play our part in the national effort."

A senior police chief said that the guidance was to stay two metres apart and meet only one other person was being ignored since the slight lifting of lockdown rules in the country.

Speaking to The Times, a chief constable said: "I think people no longer understand what they can do, or they think it is no longer important."

Over the recent snap of hot weather, the UK's beaches and beauty spots were flooded with families and friends enjoying the unlimited sunshine after Boris Johnson abandoned the one hour of outdoor exercise restriction.

Another senior officer said there was "no doubt at all" that Brits had started to relax and the guidance around meeting one person from outside the household was "forgotten shortly after the words were spoken."

With half-term kicking off tomorrow, thousands of children who have been stuck indoors working on school work will be itching to get out in the sunshine.

Let's not go back to square one. We can all play our part in the national effort.

Ramadan also comes to an end this weekend, meaning families will be celebrating Eid.

Mr Hancock said: "I hope people can enjoy Eid celebrations but I know they'll be different from usual."

The new rules revealed on May 10 stated that Brits could enjoy unlimited outdoor time, with inner-city households given the ability to enjoy outdoor space for more than hour a day for the first time in weeks.

People are also allowed to meet with one other person from another household so long as they stay outside and keep two metres apart.

Visiting friends or relatives at their homes or in large groups is still banned with fines being issued to those caught breaking the rules.

The government is monitoring the 'R rate' closely and basing lockdown restrictions on the number.

The R rate is the rate of infection for everyone who person who has the virus.

The number is not fixed, it can be altered by a range of factors like public behaviour, which is why social distancing measures are so important at keeping the spread of the virus down.

It is currently estimated to be between 0.7 and 1.0 and needs to be kept below one.

Research on more than 90,000 people showed that "complete" compliance with safety measures has dropped in the past two weeks from an average of 70 percent of people to under 60 percent.

The University College London (UCL) study also found that compliance among young adults was less than 50 percent.

Police voiced alarm at the thousands of people travelling in large groups to beaches and green spaces with many roads around coastal areas becoming "gridlocked".

Fairy Glen, a popular destination in Lancashire, was forced to close earlier this week after it became inundated with families and groups visiting.

Katy Bourne, chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said: "There are no powers available to police that stop people from visiting the beach or beauty spots. Going into lockdown was a shock to our system but coming out was always going to be the challenge.

"The police are only there to uphold the law. They're not out holding tape measures, that's not the police's job to do.

"The police aren't there to enforce social distancing because the law doesn't allow it. We are asking people to be socially responsible."


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