RESIDENTS resisted blue skies and an emergent April sun as they steered clear of the seafront on Sunday.

Only a smattering of people could be seen taking their daily exercise on the Brighton and Hove promenade yesterday after the city’s council urged people to stay away.

On Saturday Brighton and Hove City Council warned that “too many people are on the seafront making social distancing impossible” and “too many people are using the seafront to meet up with friends” in an urgent message to citizens.

Council leader Nancy Platts said she had received several messages from concerned residents who had seen a large number of people congregating near Brighton beach, sparking the announcement.

This followed repeated warnings from the authority, as well as the Government, coastguard and Sussex Police, in the run-up to the weekend, asking people to stay at home - despite the promise of warmer weather on the south coast.

Despite this, many people disregarded the advice and gathered on the promenade - including one duo who saw fit to fire up a barbecue on the beach.

Two people have now been charged by police, becoming some of the first people in the country to be reprimanded for breaching the new Coronavirus Act 2020.

Yesterday, it appeared the warning had worked. Drone footage of the promenade in Brighton and Hove shows only a select few people, distanced from one another, taking a stroll by the sea.

Cllr Platts has expressed her gratitude to all those who have listened to the “stay home, save lives” advice.

She said: “The more these safety measures are observed now, the sooner we can be on the other side of this public health crisis and enjoy what I hope will be a long, warm and sunny summer.

“It’s great that people are protecting one another and our hardworking NHS staff by staying at home and social distancing when they go out for essential shopping or 40 minutes of exercise. Thank you to everyone who is being responsible, your actions will save lives.”

Further pressure was placed on Britons to adhere to social distancing guidelines when health secretary Matt Hancock announced that outdoor exercise - which people are currently allowed one bout of each day - could be banned altogether if people continued to flout advice.

He said it was “quite unbelievable” that some people are still not following government guidance and called for more people to stay at home to help the NHS.