“YOU are putting people at risk.”
That was the warning from police this lunchtime (Thursday) as members of the public flouted the lockdown by sitting out in the sunshine on the New Forest coast.
Officers raised the alarm on Facebook to try to deter more people from congregating on the coastline between Milford and Barton, amid efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The post from Lymington’s police team said: “Currently officers are patrolling the sea front from Milford-on-Sea to Barton-on-Sea and are reporting back the sheer volume of people sat on benches enjoying the sunshine.
“You are putting people at risk by doing this.”
It added: “The government has authorised one form of exercise a day, this does not include sitting down the beach or in the forest enjoying the weather.
“Please think about how your actions have consequences for others and how difficult you are making our job by doing this.”
As of yesterday morning, there had been 463 deaths nationally out of 9,529 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to Public Health England. In the Hampshire County Council area there have been a total of 251 cases and in BCP Council 15.
The government has asked people to stay at home apart from exercising once a day or to go to work if it is open and they cannot work from home.
It is currently bringing in legislation to give police more legal authority to enforce social-distancing such as breaking up events and gatherings, and strengthening quarantine powers.
The police warning on Facebook sparked criticism of people breaking the lockdown guidelines. One said: “What is wrong with people! This is very serious. Stop acting like selfish idiots and do what we are all told to do.”
Another said: “Maybe they need a gentle reminder. It’s a killer disease! Honestly, some people don’t have the brains they were born with.”
As reported in the A&T, New Forest campsites and major car parks were closed earlier this week after a surge of visitors at the weekend raised concerns of crowds helping to pass on the virus.