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A campaign telling people to stay away from the seaside as the weather improves has been launched as part of the council’s approach to tackling coronavirus locally.
As part of the campaign backed by the leader of the council and local MP, the borough’s tourism and visitor arm has changed its name to Don’t Visit Southend.
A series of targeted social media adverts will display images of our beautiful seaside, but ask people thinking of visiting to stay at home to save lives. The council’s seafront car parks are also closed, and as per government guidance the majority of shops are closed.
The council is also looking into what further restrictions could be put on parking along the seafront to further deter visitors. More will be announced on this in due course.
Local residents will also be encouraged to share their #StayHome selfies too instead of seafront selfies.
Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, says: ““This is a not a message that we are used to promoting but at this time it is absolutely necessary. Don’t visit Southend. Stay away, stay home and save lives.
“Footfall has obviously reduced across the borough since the Government announced its social distancing instructions, we are seeing a slight rise nationally and locally in traffic, and with the weather heating up, we are concerned that people will want to visit the seaside for their daily exercise, groups will congregate, and all the good work that has been ongoing with people staying at home will be wasted.
“I am sorry to say this, but visitors are not welcome to Southend at this time. We will still be here when this is all over and we look forward to seeing you then. I would also urge residents to exercise locally and not visit the seafront unless they live in close proximity.”
Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for tourism says: “As a seaside town that values and relies on its tourism industry so much, it seems perverse to tell people not to visit Southend, but these are unprecedented time and therefore unprecedented measures and messages are needed. Our car parks and shops are closed. Don’t Visit Southend, please come and see us when we are all through this.”
James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East says: “In normal times you are very welcome to visit Southend, but not during this coronavirus pandemic. Anyone can catch coronavirus, and anyone can spread it.
“It is our duty to one another to follow government’s instruction and stay at home to save lives – don’t visit Southend.”
Suzanne Gloyne, Southend BID Manager, says: “We have seen a dramatic decline in footfall across the high street and seafront as the public are taking on the advice to stay home but it is important that people do not waiver when the weather improves.
“If visitors continue to stay away then this pandemic will end sooner meaning businesses can re-open and normality can resume.
“Save your visits for when businesses are open and need your support to get back on track.”