AS THE temperature dropped, so did visitor numbers at Brighton beach today.

Cool winds blowing across the seafront appear to have deterred beach-goers with only a smattering of swimmers, surfers and walkers visible from the promenade.

Several visitors crowded on groynes near the Brighton Palace Pier as they attempted to see swelling waves as they crashed against the rock structures.

Meanwhile, scavenging seagulls seemed relieved to see people back on the seafront again, swarming around several people on the pebbles in the hope of scooping a free snack.

The Argus:

The emptiness came as a stark contrast to the last two days, when temperatures topping 20C tempted hundreds of sunbathers down to the beach.

Following this, and concerns that social distancing measures were not being adhered to, Brighton and Hove City Council announced today that it would be restricting access to the beach.

A spokesman said: "Since the non-essential travel ban has been lifted in England, we are all free to travel to visitor destinations. But the need for physical distancing has not changed.

The Argus:

"The government has prohibited by law all public gatherings of more than two people, except where they are members of the same household, or two people from different households who keep two metres apart at all times.

"Only those who meet this criteria can visit public places for recreation.

"This means all of us must continue our adapted behaviours until further notice if we’re to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and limit the potentially devastating effect of the disease.

The Argus:

"Unfortunately our Licensing Team, Seafront Office and Sussex Police are receiving many reports of large gatherings, public nuisance, public urination and littering on our seafront and beach.

"We have serious concerns that these issues are occurring during the current Covid-19 pandemic."

He continued: "From today, the central beach area from East Street to West Street will be monitored to restrict the number of people accessing the area if necessary.

The Argus:

"This measure is about public safety. There will be stewards stationed at entry and exit points from 12 noon to 9pm each day up to and including bank holiday Monday to encourage physical distancing and direct people to less busy parts of the seafront if the area becomes too busy.

"We also need to remind people that there are fewer toilets for them to use as government guidelines only permit businesses to operate on a takeaway basis – and this does not include accessing seating or toilet facilities.

The Argus:

"We are opening public toilets where possible but capacity is limited and these are likely to become over-used and over-run if people continue to flock to our beaches."

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