Councillor warns Southend visitors not to be complacent during the hot weather

Southend has seen a major boost in visitors thanks to the hot weather and less strict lockdown rules, but the councillor responsible for public safety has said people must remember Covid-19 is still a major risk.

Over the weekend Southend’s beaches were packed with visitors enjoying some the year’s hottest weather.

The sight of visitors coming to the borough was likely welcomed by the town’s tourist industry which has faced severe challenges during the lockdown.

Councillor Martin Terry (Ind), who oversees public safety, praised seafront businesses for continuing to keep people safe and credited them as helping keep the local infection rate low.

However, he has also warned that people must not get too relaxed.

He said: “The last thing any of us want is any form of lockdown. Businesses have done brilliantly at helping keep the infection rate low but with the volume of visitors that we are now seeing we cannot afford to be complacent.”

He said the biggest danger is alcohol which can cause people to let down their guard.

“I walked along the seafront on Friday evening and there were clearly a lot of people who had drunk a lot of alcohol and that is a concern.

“It is well known that in these bars the virus can spread. If people get drunk they let their guard down and become complacent.”

His comments come after council leader Ian Gilbert said last week the council is happy to welcome visitors to the town for both day visits and staycations.

He added that the council’s public health team is constantly monitoring infection data and the authority will act quickly if they see signs of a spike.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter