/Parks swamped with sunbathers as phone data shows Brits ignoring lockdown

Parks swamped with sunbathers as phone data shows Brits ignoring lockdown


Sunbathers gather in London's Hyde Park on April 25, 2020 as mobile phone data shows people are ignoring lockdown rules
Police patrolled parks as people flocked outside to enjoy the sunshine (Picture: Getty Images/REX)

Health officials fear Britons are getting complacent about the coronavirus lockdown as traffic and mobile phone data revealed more of us are on the roads and looking for directions.

Huge queues formed outside B&Q stores in Bristol and Swansea as the chain decided to reopen 130 of its stores. Meanwhile sunbathers flocked to London’s Hyde Park and people crowded outside ice cream stands along the coastline of Hove.

Yorkshire Police revealed 50% of shutdown fines issued so far have gone to tourists visiting beauty spots in the area. At today’s Downing Street briefing NHS England director Professor Stephen Powis said ‘there was a little bit of concern’ after the warm weather drew big crowds to public spaces.

He said traffic levels are down 59% compared to February, but grew by three percentage points in the last seven days compared to the previous week.


A police officer speaks to people relaxing by the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday April 25, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
A police officer speaks to people relaxing by the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London (Picture: PA)

BGUK_1922119 - LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Hyde park looking busy with lots of people out for exercise and sunbathing in the hot temperatures regardless of the lockdown rules! PICS TAKEN: 24/04/20 Pictured: Hyde Park during lockdown BACKGRID UK 25 APRIL 2020 UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Lockdown rules say people can go outside for one form of exercise per day, for essential shopping trips, to help a vulnerable person and to go to work (Picture: W8 Media/Backgrid)

Long queues outside a B&Q diy store in Bristol as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday April 25, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Long queues outside a B&Q store in Bristol as the chain reopened 130 of its outlets (Picture: PA)

Customers adhere to social distancing guidelines as they queue to enter a B&Q Warehouse, in Leicester, central England, on April 25, 2020, during the national lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - Boris Johnson's government on Saturday was embroiled in a political row after it emerged his chief advisor attended meetings of the main scientific group advising ministers on the coronavirus pandemic in Britain. Downing Street was forced to deny that Dominic Cummings and another advisor, Ben Warner, were members of the politically independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Customers adhere to social distancing guidelines as they queue to enter a B&Q in Leicester (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Mobility data released by Apple revealed that despite a dramatic drop in requests for directions, in recent days searches for maps for walking or driving have increased by eight percentage points.

The Government says people should only go outside to buy essential items, for medical assistance, to help a vulnerable person, for one form of daily exercise and to go to work if necessary.

For all the latest news and updates on coronavirusclick here.

For our coronavirus live blog click here.

Prof Powis said: ‘It won’t take much for this virus to start increasing its transmission again and to spread more widely.

‘It would be foolish and not right if we lost the benefits that we have gained over the last four weeks, which I know have been hard for everybody.

‘So it’s really important that despite the weather, we stay at home, we keep to the guidelines that we’ve been issued with.’

The Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF) said despite its assertions to the contrary, the Government was sending out mixed messages around the shutdown.


People take their daily excercise in Greenwich Park, south east London on April 25, 2020, during the national lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to return to work soon after his recovery from COVID-19, as pressure mounts on his government to explain how to get Britain out of lockdown. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A man takes his daily exercise in Greenwich Park, south east London (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Police officers tell members of the public that they are not allowed to sit and enjoy the sunshine on the grass, but are allowed to walk to take exercise, in London Fields park in east London on April 25, 2020, during the national lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - Boris Johnson's government on Saturday was embroiled in a political row after it emerged his chief advisor attended meetings of the main scientific group advising ministers on the coronavirus pandemic in Britain. Downing Street was forced to deny that Dominic Cummings and another advisor, Ben Warner, were members of the politically independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Police tell members of the public that they are not allowed to sit and enjoy the sunshine on the grass, but are allowed to walk to take exercise in London Fields (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Guy Bell/REX (10624681ai) Parks police ask a family having a picnic to move on - Battersea Park is reasonably busy, and generally people maintain some social distance, as the sun is out and it is warmer. The 'lockdown' continues for the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak in London. Park life during the Coronavirus Lockdown, London, UK - 25 Apr 2020
Officers ask a family having a picnic to move on from Battersea Park, south London (Picture: REX)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Guy Bell/REX (10624681aw) Despite the benches being closed people still sit on teh ground - they are well spread out but behaving against guidance. Clapham Common is reasonably busy as the sun is out and it is warmer. The 'lockdown' continues for the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak in London. Park life during the Coronavirus Lockdown, London, UK - 25 Apr 2020
Despite the benches being taped off people still sat on the ground in Clapham Common (Picture: REX)

Its chairman Ken Marsh said: ‘Contrary to the view we heard today from Downing Street, the Metropolitan Police Federation does believe there are mixed messages coming out from the government around the lockdown for the public.

‘This makes our already difficult job of policing this unprecedented crisis harder.

‘We have to ask whether DIY stores – for instance – are essential stores for the public to attend? Their opening creates increased footfall and vehicles on our roads which surely goes against what we have been told around people staying home to protect the NHS and save lives.

‘Police officers are on the front line of combating the coronavirus crisis – we need clear and unambiguous laws, guidance and communication from government around what the public can and can’t do. What is essential and what isn’t.


SOUTHEND ON SEA, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: People queue outside a B&Q store which has reopened amid the Coronavirus lockdown on April 23, 2020 in Southend on Sea, England. DIY chain B&Q has reopened 155 of its UK stores after a trial at 14 stores over the weekend, 61 outlets reopened on Wednesday and another 80 today. The store has introduced social distancing controls, such as capping the number of customers allowed in-store. The British government has extended the lockdown restrictions first introduced on March 23 that are meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
People stay two metres apart as they queue outside a B&Q store in Southend on Sea (Picture: Getty Images)

Customers queue outside the B&Q Warehouse, which has reopened after more than a month's closure, in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire on April 25, 2020, during the national lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to return to work soon after his recovery from COVID-19, as pressure mounts on his government to explain how to get Britain out of lockdown. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh questioned the decision to allow DIY stores to open (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the public enjoy the hot weather as they relax, sunbathe and picnic on Primrose Hill, north London during the Coronavirus lockdown. Pictured: General view Ref: SPL5161554 100420 NON-EXCLUSIVE Picture by: SplashNews.com Splash News and Pictures USA: +1 310-525-5808 London: +44 (0)20 8126 1009 Berlin: +49 175 3764 166 photodesk@splashnews.com World Rights,
A policeman confronts a member of the public relaxing in Primrose Hill, north London (Picture: Splashnews.com)

People sunbathe in Alexandra Park in north London on April 10, 2020 as warm weather tests the nationwide lockdown and the long Easter weekend begins. - The disease has struck at the heart of the British government, infected more than 60,000 people nationwide and killed over 8,000, with a daily death toll in England of 866 reported on April 10. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
People sunbathe in Alexandra Park in north London despite the lockdown (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

‘If officers are confused about all this then so will the public be.’

Various forces have highlighted the most flagrant breaches of the guidance they have come across on social media.

Devon and Cornwall Police fined a couple from Kent for driving around 300 miles for a ‘mini-break’ by the sea.

Their car was confiscated after the driver was found to have no licence or insurance.

In Gwent, officers described it is ‘unacceptable’ that people drove nearly 12 miles from Newport to the blue lagoon at Pantygasseg.

Police in Gloucestershire issued warning letters to three people in Paganhill after holding a party at one of their houses.

And a pub in Pendeford, Wolverampton, had its licence suspended for three weeks for secretly serving alcohol.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.



Coronavirus latest news and updates

Original Source