Coronavirus: Easter warnings from police, parks and councils

Londoners enjoy sunshine and spring temperatures in Brockwell Park in Herne Hill, 3 April 2020, in south London, EnglandImage source, Richard Baker/Getty
Image caption,
Parks will be open but visitors are being asked to observe social-distancing measures

It will be an Easter weekend of a different kind of "sacrifice" as police and tourist destinations tell visitors to stay home.

With temperatures predicted to reach 25C (77F), people are being urged to follow government advice.

Police forces across the country are warning they will crack down on those breaking lockdown rules.

Parks are telling people to keep moving while the Easter service will come from the Archbishop of Canterbury's kitchen.

It will be the second weekend of sunshine with last Saturday seeing crowds congregating at popular spots including Brighton seafront and Brockwell Park in south London, leading to enforcement by police and closures.

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The prime minister's official spokesman said the country had made "very big sacrifices", which were beginning to have an impact, and said police forces had the government's "full support" in enforcing the lockdown.

What have police forces said?

Devon and Cornwall Police warned second-homers will be told to turn around, while in the East people are being told to stay away from the Yorkshire coast.

Cornwall is estimated to have about 13,500 second homes and Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew said his officers would police the roads.

"We understand that people may have second homes in Devon or Cornwall but we urge you not to travel to them," he said.

Robert Goodwill, Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby, said he had been told "selfish individuals" were coming to their second home and on holiday to the Yorkshire coast.

"I have been appalled to see so many tourists visiting the Yorkshire coast, with particularly worrying scenes in places like Whitby, where the narrow streets make it impossible to stay apart from other people," he said.

Image source, Christopher Furlong
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The government is urging locals and holidaymakers to stay away from beaches

Chief Constable of North Wales Police, Carl Foulkes, warned people "not to take the law into their own hands" after the force received calls about second homes.

Earlier, Downing Street said people who were in their second-homes should not travel back to their primary residences now.

Several forces have launched online forms for people to report those flouting the rules, while Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley said a "three-week grace period" is over.

He warned the force was prepared to issue fines and make arrests. If people continued to flout regulations, patrols may check supermarket trolleys for non-essential shopping and set up road blocks. The force later said it "absolutely will not be searching people's shopping trolleys".

Greater Manchester Police said it had broken up 660 parties last weekend and Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said it was "vital" people followed government advice this weekend.

Image source, Reuters
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Public benches are taped off in Brockwell Park in London

What have parks and beauty spots said?

One of London's largest parks, Victoria Park, is set to reopen on Saturday - two weeks after it closed due to a lack of social distancing - but is telling visitors to keep moving at all times.

Manchester City Council has repeated the call for people to respect the advice, saying reports of people congregating had been "regrettable".

Image source, PA Media
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Parks are open for people to exercise but councils are warning social-distancing guidelines must be observed

Stewart Young, Labour leader of Cumbria County Council, said his message to visitors to the Lake District was "don't come here" after the county saw a spike in coronavirus-related cases.

The Peak District National Park Authority welcomed a 90% reduction in footfall last weekend but told people to resist temptation and stay at home.

Cumbria Constabulary tweeted on Thursday that it had turned away two tourists heading for a canoe trip in the Lakes.

Cumbria Roads Police said: "We wish to thank 99% of the public for complying with guidelines at this difficult time. However, [two] Yorkshire chaps chose to head to Windermere for a spot of canoeing. Stopped and escorted back to the motorway."

Image source, BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images
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Coastal towns such as Southend are encouraging visitors to stay away over Easter

Will places of worship be open?

Easter weekend is important in the religious calendar, but MP Jack Lopresti was criticised for calling for churches to reopen.

Downing Street said on Thursday places of worship should not open and this year the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be delivering his Easter ceremony from his kitchen after recording it on his iPad.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
This year Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will be giving his sermon from his kitchen after recording it on his iPad

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