TOO many people have descended on a seafront to meet with friends, the council has said.

Brighton and Hove City Council was forced to release a warning to citizens and visitors shortly before 1pm reminding them to stay at home, despite repeated pleas to do so in the run-up to the weekend.

There were fears from the authority, as well as the Government, coastguard and police forces, that a spell of warm weather over this weekend would persuade people to disregard social distancing rules and descend on Brighton and Hove seafront.

>>>READ MORE: 'People will die' if lockdown is ignored

Sussex Police posted officers at Brighton Station to question visitors to the city in a further attempt to prevent this from happening, and council leader Nancy Platts spoke yesterday to urge people to stay away from the city.

The Argus:

But, despite clear orders from authorities, the seafront has still become too busy today - making social distancing "impossible".

Cllr Platts said she had been "contacted by concerned residents about the numbers at the beach today".

She continued: "I'm getting very worried that, as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, people will be persuaded to go out more."

She reinforced Government advice that people should only leave the house for essential trips, such as food shopping and picking up medication for yourself, family members or vulnerable others.

In a statement released at 12.29pm, a spokeswoman for the council said: "Too many people are on the seafront making social distancing impossible.

>>>READ MORE: Largest overnight increase in Brighton and Hove coronavirus cases so far

"Too many people are using the seafront to meet up with friends.

The Argus:

"We know it's hard being inside and not seeing friends and family but please don't visit Brighton and Hove this weekend.

"Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives."

Cllr Platts said the continued breaches of the new social distancing rules was "disappointing".

Police are posted and patrolling at Brighton station and along the seafront with officers will enforcing the distancing order and questioning people's motives for coming to the city.

If they are taking an unnecessary day trip, they will be asked to return to their hometown.

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The Argus:

Brighton and Hove City Council's seafront officers will also be patrolling the seafront on quad bikes to remind people to keep their distance from others.

Cllr Platts said: "It's disappointing if people are not going to abide by these rules.

"It means it will take longer to get over this crisis,

"The worry is that people may not know yet that they have coronavirus and then pass it on to someone else, who may be vulnerable.

"They are then at risk, along with the NHS staff who treat them.

"It's not worth that risk, to sit on the beach and have a picnic.

"Other people's lives are worth more than that."

The Argus:

Many people use the seafront for their daily exercise, which has been included in the Government's list of essential trips.

Cllr Platts provided guidance on the nature of this activity.

She said: "We ask people to go out in their local area, and to not travel by car.

"We don't want people breaking down, running out of petrol or going to a place where there are a lot of people.

"That's why we have kept the parks and beaches open. A lot of people in the city don't have gardens so it is good to have access to a large open space.

"People can go to their nearest park or beach and still keep their distance from others."

The Argus:

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She said exercise should last about 30 minutes, and this daily bout was supported by the council as it "is good for mental health".

But she said that people should not breach social distancing rules, going within two metres of one another, and "should not be meeting up with groups".

But Cllr Platts, who sits in the East Brighton ward, said she had seen a noticeable change in the area over recent weeks.

She said: "I live in the Kemp Town area and that has been deserted, people are making real efforts.

"I want to say a big thank-you to everybody who is social distancing."

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. To donate visit