After a busy and hot Bank Holiday Monday in Southend, the council’s cabinet member for community safety has said that plans and measures put in place locally since lockdown was relaxed earlier this month will continue to be reviewed and improved as necessary.
Measures put in place since the Government’s national announcement on Sunday May 10 have included:
- Setting up a marshalled contraflow road system to allow more road space to be used by pedestrians on Western Esplanade
- A phased approach to reopening car parks and seafront parking bays, with many still suspended to enable the contraflow
- Putting queue management, sanitisation stations and extra cleaning in place at central seafront public toilets such as Jubilee beach, alongside bringing in further Portaloos for City Beach and working with Adventure Island to enable them to open their private toilets
- Working with local businesses to enable them to put queue management systems in place at takeaways for example
- Used redeployed council staff, volunteers and beach welfare officers alongside community support officers to encourage and remind people about the need to observe social distancing
- Stepped up parking enforcement to help ensure safe and responsible parking
- Asking people to think twice before visiting, and if they are here to observe social distancing and signage, not congregate in crowds and ‘stay safe, stay apart’
Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety, says: “We are learning all the time, and we will continue to work together with seafront traders and businesses to ensure that people who do decide to visit Southend-on-Sea, can do so safely and that our balanced approach also supports local people.
“The situation has been constantly evolving, and quickly too, and so it is therefore important that our measures and collective message are flexible and adaptable.
“I have said for some time now that social distancing is now a fact of life, and we saw from aerial shots published yesterday that many people are respecting it on our beaches.
“However, of course we cannot say that everyone is observing the guidance, and we are also still tackling coronavirus and that is why we have a combined team of volunteers, staff and businesses who are working to promote the stay safe, stay apart message and working hard to encourage social distancing on the ground. It is also why we put in place a number of the measures that we have.
“We have seen from other parts of the country the issues they are having too, and so we are learning from that also.
“We will be meeting local seafront businesses again later today to take feedback from the weekend, and discuss the approach moving forwards.
“The reality of the national changes to lockdown is that people are now visiting seaside locations and beauty spots and this will only increase as other relaxation measures come in such as shops opening.
“This has been seen up and down the country and so moving forwards, whilst we are asking people to think twice before coming, we also need to focus on making the environment safe and clean for people who do decide to come.
“We also need to work together to ensure we don’t become overwhelmed by the sorts of numbers that would make social distancing very difficult across the seafront and create issues for local residents and those visiting.”