CROWDS flocked to beaches today on one of the hottest days of the year so far.

Swarms of people were seen on beaches in Brighton and Hove enjoying the sunshine - including large groups.

It comes after Brighton and Hove City Council again urged the public to maintain social distancing over the weekend to protect public safety amid the coronavirus crisis.

A statement on the council website read: "While restrictions are starting to be eased, the need for physical distancing has not changed. 

"Stewards will be in place between 11am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday to monitor the central beach area from East Street to West Street. 

The Argus: Hove seafront was filled with beach-goers todayHove seafront was filled with beach-goers today

"The stewards will be monitoring access to the beach and will put in restrictions if the area becomes too busy. They will advise people to go to less busy beaches. 

"Last week, one of the central beaches was temporarily closed due to becoming too crowded."

Under current rules, individual can meet a maximum of one person from another household at a two-metre distance.

The Argus: Groups on Hove LawnsGroups on Hove Lawns

Restrictions are not set to be eased until Monday, when the Government has said groups of up to six people can meet up outdoors, at a distance.

At today's daily briefing, England's deputy chief medical officer, professor Jonathan Van-Tam, warned the public not to "tear the pants" out of the Government guidance.

He said: "This virus has a natural 'R' of three. One case will infect three more people.

The Argus: Groups gathered on Hove Lawns Groups gathered on Hove Lawns

"It's like having a spring in a box and you've got the lid on.

"You can take the lid off a little, but if you take it right off you haven't got the tension, and off it will go again.

"This is a dual responsibility here - of Government to go slowly and carefully, and to take advice from the scientists, and of the public in general to actually follow the guidance.

"Don't tear the pants out of it and don't go further than the guidance actually says."