Please stay away, says council leader as she asks government for greater powers to fight virus

Posted On 31 May 2020 at 4:59 pm

Council leader Nancy Platts has repeated a request for people to stay away from Brighton and Hove and wants the government to give local authorities greater powers to tackle the coronavirus.

Brighton seafront this afternoon

Councillor Platts said: “When skies are clear blue and temperatures are in the mid-20s, it’s normally the time when Brighton and Hove loves to welcome visitors from around the world.

“But we are still nowhere near being back in normal times.

The Spearhead

“Despite lockdown measures being eased, meaning people can travel to spend time at their favourite places to visit, we’re worried that the impact of this on popular visitor destinations like Brighton and Hove hasn’t been fully thought through.

“Because so many people love coming to our city, this potentially puts people’s safety at risk and could undo all the work to prevent covid-19 spreading which was achieved during lockdown.

“We have several specific challenges in Brighton and Hove that we and the police are trying to manage but, in reality, our resources are limited and our powers few when it comes to the scale of the task.

“The council has stewards in place at key points along the seafront who are trying to manage the numbers of people accessing the beach.

“On a number of occasions yesterday the stewards, working closely with our incredible Seafront Team, did close access from the upper to lower promenade when the beaches became busy.

“This had a positive impact by encouraging people to go to other beaches although some did still walk around.”

The Brighton and Hove City Council leader added: “Some people have been overdoing it alcohol-wise on the seafront and behaviour has become unpleasant and dangerous.

“We’re doing everything within our powers to ensure seafront bars are not breaking the restrictions currently in place on the sale of food and drink.

“But we think the people who are overdoing it and who are drinking heavily may be bringing their own alcohol to the beach.

“Please don’t put pressure on our already stretched emergency services by drinking too much and needing medical attention.

Brighton seafront this afternoon

“The police will be focusing their efforts on the central beaches that were problematic yesterday but they of course still need to respond to emergencies and other calls for help across the city.

“Please don’t create another issue for them to deal with.

“People who do behave irresponsibly on the beach also put our Seafront Team at risk. Due to covid-19, they’ve been delayed in recruiting lifeguards and our usual lifeguard service is not in operation at the moment.

“Lifeguards normally patrol the city’s beaches from the end of May until the end of September but the covid-19 pandemic and physical distancing restrictions interrupted our usual recruitment drive.

Hove seafront this afternoon

“We would urge anyone going into the sea to take extreme care. The current is strong and the water is not as warm as it looks.

“We’ve put signs up along the seafront to warn people about the dangers of mixing swimming and drinking alcohol.

“Please don’t take unnecessary risks that could put extra strain on emergency services at this difficult time.”

Councillor Nancy Platts

Councillor Platts said that local people did not feel safe in public spaces and that more local lockdown powers were needed.

She added: “It’s incredibly upsetting to hear from people who live in the city, many of whom have no garden or balcony, that they can’t go to their local park or the seafront because they feel unsafe.

“We need more powers from central government to be able to call and implement a local lockdown if we see cases of covid-19 increase in the city.

“At the moment this is still being discussed in Whitehall but to be able to act quickly we need to be able to undertake the actions we feel best protect the people who live here and the NHS staff and key workers who work here.

“We need to hear from government on this as a matter of urgency.

Hove seafront this afternoon

“For the time being we ask for the continued support and co-operation of the general public to help protect our city.

“If you love Brighton and Hove, please stay away for the time being. Protect our city. Protect the people who make it such a special place.”

  1. Beverly Singh Reply

    The lady is spot on, I live with my 3 teenagers in a flat above a shop in hove,we have no outdoor space,not even a balcony, I’m at risk of getting complications with covid ,my kids have to get out but they have told me the last week or so it’s been impossible to stay 2 metres from others.why cant people just stay in there own area,then we wouldn’t have this problem although it doesn’t help that loads of places like icecream place etc have opened up

  2. Paula Reply

    We come down from burgess hill but we’re sensible. Other groups doing drugs. Having parties. Doing balloons. Not good m8

    • Valerie Reply

      You are NOT sensible & could be adding to Coronavirus load even if asymptomatic. And what did you do for a loo break?

      No parks in Burgess Hil!? What about the Downs?

    • Kat Reply

      Really??? You ARE the problem

  3. roy pennington Reply

    what greater powers does the Council want? no mention at all.

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