REPRESENTATIVES of towns and cities have told would-be visitors they are "closed" over the bank holiday weekend.

This comes after large numbers descended on beaches across the county this week to make the most of loosened lockdown rules.

Brought in last Wednesday, the updated guidelines allow people to sunbathe and sit in public spaces so long as they observe social distancing - as well as drive to other areas for recreation or exercise.

But the change has seen thousands of people descend on beauty spots such as Birling Gap, Camber Sands and Brighton and Hove seafront.

Read more: Pictures of Brighton beach after lockdown ease

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A video of Birling Gap on Sunday showed hundreds of cars parked on grass verges leading up to the site.

Meanwhile, in Camber, car parks were closed and police were called to "manage" the situation after an influx of visitors quickly filled car parks in the village.

Brighton and Hove also saw an increase in the number of people on its beach this week as the city basked in a spell of warm weather.

Councillor Carmen Appich, chairwoman of the city's Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, said: "If you love Brighton and Hove, please stay away for the time being. Protect our city; protect the people who live here and who make it such a special place to visit."

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She added: I know it might be tempting to think of a day at the beach but there’s a bigger picture to consider so we’re asking people to please stay away for now.

"We are concerned that the Government has not fully thought through the impact of encouraging people to drive to beauty spots and visitor destinations like Brighton and Hove.

"We still have cases of coronavirus in the city and many vulnerable people that we need to protect – while the number of cases has gone down, we still have people in hospital including in intensive care."

Cllr Appich said the city "missed its visitors" but "we do not want to go back to square one and find ourselves having to face more stringent and longer-term lockdown measures if coronavirus cases go up".

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Hastings Borough Council went one step further, and have created a poster to discourage visitors to the town.

On this, the authority says: "Hastings. We're not going anywhere, and neither should you."

A spokesman for the council said: "Our priority is keeping residents safe.

"Hastings has one of the lowest infection rates in England and we want to keep it that way, so for now our message to visitors is: Hastings is closed."

Earlier this week, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said the force "wanted people to get out in the sunshine and enjoy themselves" so long as they followed social distancing guidelines.

Read more: Busy beaches 'make a mockery' of efforts to suppress virus, says health expert

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But Sussex Police have urged people to be reasonable when driving to places for exercise.

A spokesman said: "If you arrive somewhere that is already busy, please don't add to the crowds and make it unsafe for you and others."

This message was reinforced by officers from Wealden Police, who said: "The lockdown restrictions may have been eased, and it is very tempting to go to beauty spots like Birling Gap.

"If car parks are busy, it does make social distancing difficult; stay alert, help control the virus, and save lives. If they are busy, try a quieter place."

  • 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