Police put on extra patrols this weekend amid 68F mini-heatwave
Police put on extra patrols this weekend amid fears that 68F mini-heatwave will see Brits flout Covid-19 lockdown rules as London’s biggest parks warn they’ll close for good if people ‘have picnics or sunbathe’
- Forces across Britain to be deployed to beauty spots, parks and roads amid mounting fears people will go out
- Temperatures will hit 68F on Sunday and there will be ‘a good deal of sunshine’ on Saturday, Met Office says
- London’s biggest parks threatened to close if Britons ‘have picnics, sunbathe or cycle where it is not allowed’
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to stick to the rules and not to be tempted by the forecast of sun
Police have warned there will be extra patrols this weekend to stop people flouting coronavirus lockdown rules as Britain braces for a mini-heatwave.
Forces across the country will be deployed to beauty spots, parks and roads amid mounting fears the public will leave their homes to soak up the sun.
Temperatures will soar to 68F (20C) on Sunday and there will be ‘a good deal of sunshine’ on Saturday, with the Met Office saying the weather will be ‘feeling warmer than recently’.
London’s biggest parks have even threatened to close if Britons ‘have picnics, sunbathe or cycle where it is not allowed’ as bosses signed a joint letter pledging action.
Temperatures will soar to 68F (20C) on Sunday and there will be ‘a good deal of sunshine’ on Saturday, with the Met Office saying the weather will be ‘feeling warmer than recently’. Pictured: A couple walking in Oxfordshire yesterday
A surfer gets their exercise in at Tynemouth beach in Tyne and Wear as the country braces for a mini-heatwave this weekend
The Government will keep a close eye on public activity, with a source telling the Telegraph: ‘Closure of public spaces is certainly an option.’
Extra officers have been drafted in to Wandsworth, south London, while North Wales Police said those going to Snowdonia should ‘be prepared to be stopped’ and Lancashire Constabulary said there will be more patrols.
Despite the country being in lockdown, online booking companies have ignored Government advice and continue to offer hotels for this weekend and the Easter break.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to stick to the regulations and not to be tempted by the forecast of good weather.
Two people enjoy the spring weather in St James Park, London, yesterday, as health chiefs grow concerned large numbers will break lockdown to enjoy the rising temperatures this weekend
He said: ‘I just want to say one crucial thing, one quick thing to everybody thinking about this weekend and what may be some fine weather.
‘I reckon a lot of people will be starting to think that this is all going on for quite a long time and would rather be getting out there, particularly if you’ve got kids in the household, everybody may be getting a bit stir crazy, and there may be just a temptation to get out there, hang out and start to break the regulations.
‘I just urge you not to do that. Please, please stick with the guidance now. This country has made a huge effort, a huge sacrifice, done absolutely brilliantly well in delaying the spread of the virus.
‘Let’s stick with it now, remember that incredible clapping again [Thursday] night for our fantastic NHS. We’re doing it to protect them and to save lives.’
Meanwhile Ken Marsh, chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said police were ready to use new powers handed to them to enforce lockdown measures.
He said: ‘I don’t doubt more people will be out. There are pockets of people not taking the rules on board and if there are gatherings in parks or any area where we feel there are groups of more than two or three people, they will be spoken to and dealt with very rapidly.
‘First it will be a conversation, and if they don’t adhere to that there will be fines and, yes, there could be arrests.’
Derbyshire Police, which came under criticism after using drones to stalk hill walkers, on Thursday urged people to stay away from the Peak District and National Forest. It also raised the prospect of increasing patrols if people flout the rules.
A spokesman said: ‘Our officers are already out and about across the county speaking to people and explaining how they can best follow the guidance and, where appropriate, moving people on if they are behaving in contravention of that guidance.
Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also urged people to stick to the regulations over the weekend and not to be tempted by the forecast of good weather
‘As a force we do not want to criminalise otherwise law-abiding members of our communities; however, where all other means have been exhausted then fines can and will be issued.’
Hotels, hostels and short-term accommodation venues have all been ordered to close by the government.
And Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, said: ‘We are worried it will tempt people to come and we’re worried about the impact between local people and the industry, as the government advice is clear and locals want people not to come.
‘It seems to me that it wouldn’t be very difficult for a large website like Airbnb to just say ‘we are not allowing any bookings for the foreseeable future’.’
The Prime Minister yesterday warned data was showing more people were using transport than in previous days, with No 10 growing increasingly worried about more cars appearing on the road this weekend.
When the lockdown was first enforced, large groups of people could still be seen in public places across the country, with officers often spotted speaking to those flouting the rules.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam said: ‘Whatever the weather, we all have a shared responsibility to protect those around us, and the single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.’
While visitor numbers at the popular Lake District have fallen in recent days, officers have still had to tell day-trippers to leave, according to assistant chief constable of Cumbria Police Andy Slattery.
He said he was concerned families would be suffering from ‘boredom and frustration’ after nearly two weeks of being told to stay home and people would be tempted to get in their cars to travel for a change of scenery.
Messages are being pumped out across London online, urging people to resist the desire to go out, though police chiefs fear the Easter weekend could prove to be an even bigger concern, with forces drawing up plans to boost patrols.
While there is fear in some quarters the public will struggle to continue to follow the lockdown rules, a government adviser and behavioural change expert said research suggests violations of the guidance should not be expected.
Some 20 properties were still available to book on the site in the coastal town of St Ives, in Cornwall, alone. Two ‘hosts’ of properties overlooking the town’s picturesque bay have confirmed that their properties were available to rent this weekend
Professor Ivo Vlaev said: ‘What we know is that with compelling narrative and reasons, people are capable of maintaining remarkable solidarity over long periods of times of national crisis, especially when the narrative is a collective narrative.
‘And, in fact, we know from evidence that panic is much less likely behaviour. In fact more likely behaviours are related to cooperation and altruism and solidarity.’
However, the picture looks somewhat different in Scotland, with the Met Office warning of rain, with some hill snow, moving northeastwards across the country tonight, with frost and fog patches forming.
Snow had already started to fall in the Highlands this morning, as weather chiefs warn rain affecting the west of the UK will cross all parts as the weekend draws to a close, followed by scattered showers on Monday.
Warm sunshine is forecast for this weekend with higher temperatures expected in Britain than parts of southern France or Spain.
Amid southerly winds, temperatures could reach maximum figures of 68F (20C) in South East England on Sunday.
Officials at Cornwall Council have demanded all holiday firms shut down with the holidays approaching as it called on them to support the Government’s virus response
It compares with 63F (17C) in Nice, on the Cote D’Azur, and 59F (15C) in Barcelona the same day.
The mild, sunny weather could last into the start of next week for southern and eastern areas. It follows a chilly spell with wintry showers last Sunday – including snow as far south as Kent.
Consumers rage at only being offered credit vouchers instead of refunds for holidays
Consumers have been left outraged after a major online travel agent refused to refund them when their package holidays were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Love Holidays has instead told holidaymakers it will only offer vouchers in some cases, and told passengers to ask their airlines for a refund of the flight fare.
However it said it could not guarantee that accommodation costs would be refunded, which appears to contradict the Package Travel Regulations 2018.
These state that tourists should be able to get a refund from a tour operator who sells a package which is then cancelled, reported the Independent.
Love Holidays also states on its website that it will give customers their money back if they cannot offer an alternative or ‘even if you just prefer’.
All package holidays were effectively cancelled up until April 16 after the Foreign Office warned on March 17 against non-essential travel abroad for a month.
A Love Holidays spokesman said: ‘We are in the process of creating refund credit notes for protected bookings.
‘Where refund credit notes are being issued, the current guidance is that these credit notes will remain protected and there will be an ability for customers to request a refund if not used by a particular date.’
Conditions are set to improve for the weekend after a mainly cloudy day today with outbreaks of drizzle.
Temperatures today are only set to reach maximum figures of 46F (8C) and 48F (9C) in northern areas and 52F (11C) to 54F (12C) in the south.
After a widespread overnight frost, there is still set to be plenty of cloud around tomorrow.
But an increasing amount of sunny breaks are expected as the day goes along.
Temperatures are also due to build, reaching maximum figures of 57F (14C) to 15C (59F) tomorrow.
Sunday is expected to be breezy with widespread sunny spells and very mild temperatures. Even as far north as in Newcastle upon Tyne, a maximum figure of 63F (17C) is forecast.
In western areas, cloud is set to build later with the chance of patchy rain in the north-west by late afternoon or evening.
Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond, said: ‘Things have been quite cold but we are due to see a change with the arrival of southerly winds.
‘Temperatures are due to be in the mid-teens (Celsius) for many areas on Saturday and 19-20C (66-68F) on Sunday. There will be a good deal of hazy sunshine.’
Miss Diamond said southern and eastern areas could hold on to the mild and sunny weather into next week.
She said: ‘Winds are due to become westerly meaning it will be cooler but temperatures on Monday and Tuesday could still reach 13-16C (55-61F).
‘An area of high pressure over central Europe is still due to bring plenty of sunshine around on both days in southern and eastern parts of the country.’
The average daytime maximum temperature for April in England is 13.2C (55.7F).
But the mostly dry weather which has been in charge since the coronavirus lockdown began is forecast to break down in western areas during next week, due to an area of low pressure to the north of the UK.
‘Atlantic weather systems’ are forecast, bringing ‘frequent bands of wet and windy conditions across the UK from the south or southwest’, the Met Office predicts.
Police patrol the streets near Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow on Wednesday
Drier and brighter weather is likely to continue in the south and east.
In between the rain, brighter and showery interludes are forecast and eastern areas are likely to see the best of any fine weather.
Unsettled weather with spells of wet and windy conditions is likely to continue through the middle of the month with a ‘more prolonged spell of fine and dry weather’ unlikely to return until the end of April.
Meanwhile councils in parts of the country have received complaints that some holiday accommodation providers still have tourists in their premises despite the ban.
And there are fears that better weather on the way – with temperatures set to rise to 70F (21C) next week – could encourage people to secretly go for a getaway.
Councillor spends £100 on banners urging day trippers to stay away from Suffolk seaside town
A councillor has spent £100 of his own cash on banners urging day trippers and second home owners to stay away from an upmarket seaside town.
David Beaven ordered two 12ft banners to try and stop ‘selfish idiot’ visitors spreading coronavirus among the elderly population of Southwold, Suffolk.
The yellow banners warn: ‘A day at the seaside or a week in your holiday home are NOT essential travel.PLEASE RESPECT US – DON’T INFECT US’.
Southwold councillors Simon Founder (left) and David Beavan (right) next to the banner on the town hall in the Suffolk town
The Edwardian town is a favourite haunt of well-heeled Londoners including celebrities such as Chris Evans, Richard Curtis, Stephen Fry and Michael Palin.
Around 60 per cent of of its 1,200 homes belong to second home owners – the highest proportion of any town in the UK.
Local residents reported a huge influx of visitors two weeks ago before the lockdown measures started.
They are now fearful that more people could return during sunny weather forecast for this weekend and over Easter.
Liberal Democrat town and district councillor Mr Beavan, 68, said: ‘We normally love visitors – but we just can’t cope with them at the moment.
‘We are really worried about Easter because it is the traditional start of the summer break.
‘If people have been in lockdown for three weeks, they could decide to risk it and come here, thinking it will do no harm. They will be thinking just one day at the seaside won’t matter – but it will.
The banner beside the A12 road warning visitors to stay away from Southwold
‘I can understand why people want to get out of London or a big metropolis, but they should think again.
‘There is nothing to do here anyway apart form walk on the beach because all the pubs and restaurants are closed, and there are hardly any shops open.
‘But it only takes one selfish idiot to bring the virus and then it can be passed around, and undo the good work of everyone else. The average age of our 800 full time residents is 65 so we are a vulnerable population.
‘Our local hospital closed down two-years-ago and we do not have the capacity to look after people if they fall ill. The message is that people should stay at home. Don’t expect us to look after you because we won’t be able to.’
Tourism figures said they were worried online home rental sites such as Airbnb are encouraging people to travel across the country for so-called ‘stay-cations’.
Some 20 properties were still available to book on the site in the coastal town of St Ives, in Cornwall, alone. Two ‘hosts’ of properties overlooking the town’s picturesque bay have confirmed that their properties were available to rent this weekend.
Good Friday is fast approaching in a week’s time on April 10, but all Britons have been told to cancel any holiday plans and stay at home to help fight the pandemic.
However police across the UK are priming themselves for potential clashes with sun-seekers, picnickers and travellers as the Easter holiday period gets under way.
Cornwall Council has demanded all holiday firms shut down with the holidays approaching as it called on them to support the Government’s virus response.
Officials also extended this call to those who might want to travel to a second home or let out their rooms or properties on online booking platforms such as Airbnb.
And council leaders in Lincolnshire have urged people not to visit as they closed many of the county’s main tourism car parks in an effort to put people off.
Some holiday accommodation buildings in Britain have been allowed to remain open, such as those proving a base for key workers or healthcare use.
One example is Carnmarth Hotel in Newquay, Cornwall, which is providing housing to those discharged from hospital who are not ready to go home.
Meanwhile motoring group bosses told drivers to avoid using the ‘prospect of better weather’ as a reason to ignore advice to only go out for essential journeys.
It comes after experts raised concerns that the quarantine is becoming increasingly fragile, with figures showing car and public transport use up for the first time at the beginning of this week.
On Wednesday, police in Cambridgeshire were pictured stopping people in cars and at Peterborough train station to ask them why they were travelling.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stressed that unless people are key workers or helping someone vulnerable, the only valid reasons to go outside are to shop for essentials, exercise once a day or fulfil any medical needs.
Police up and down the UK have been given new powers to enforce the lockdown, including using ‘reasonable force’ against children if they don’t respect the rules, which include two metres apart from people.
On-the-spot £30 fines can also be issued, rising to £60 if they are not paid within 28 days and capped at £960 for repeat offenders.
Tourism figures said they were concerned the likes of Airbnb are encouraging people to travel across the country.
Twitter user Remmey Best wrote last night: ‘There are holidaymakers starting to appear where I am in the West Country. There will be many more next weekend.
‘The lockdown is only advice. If they’re here then local businesses will open up again. Can’t blame them – we’re being hung out to dry.
‘So once people realise that Devon and Cornwall are open they’ll start heading down. People simply won’t stand by and let their livelihoods crumble.
By contrast, websites such as Classic Cottages display a warning saying users can no longer make bookings before the summer due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
Airbnb said it was reminding all property ‘hosts’ to review the latest government guidance before accepting any new bookings.
Data released by the Department of Transport on Tuesday night showed car and van usage rose 10 per cent at the beginning of this week.
Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, described the ‘uptick in motor vehicle traffic’ as a ‘slightly concerning trend’.
Meanwhile local media in Cornwall have launched a #comebacklater campaign urging visitors to temporarily postponed their plans to visit until they can safely do so.
And the council’s enforcement team is now writing to all owners of holiday accommodation to ask for their cooperation in complying with the rules.
Rob Nolan, its cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: ‘We are calling on and trust that our holiday accommodation providers in Cornwall will do the right thing and ensure compliance with this requirement.’
And Inspector Miles Topham, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said: ‘We will work closely with and support our partners in protecting the public.
Police community support officers speak to a skateboarder in Brighton on Wednesday
‘If people undertake non-essential travel, which could includes travelling to second homes, then we reserve the right to take enforcement action which will be considered on a case by case basis.’
RAC breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis told MailOnline: ‘In normal circumstances, the Easter weekend would be one of the busiest getaways of the year, but with the virus outbreak 2020 is anything but normal.
‘It’s important drivers continue to follow the Government’s advice to only go out for essential journeys – the prospect of better weather must not be used as a reason to ignore this advice.
‘Where drivers need to make these trips, the RAC is still there for them if their cars fail.’
And AA president Edmund King said: ‘Transport ministers have made it very clear to us that cars should only be used for essential journeys and this applies as much to Easter as it has in the last couple of weeks.
‘Hence Easter drives should be done on the PlayStation this year rather than the public highway.
‘We all need to beat this pandemic together and that means restricting our movements to keep the pressure off the NHS and essential emergency services as much as possible.’
A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said: ‘The government’s advice is clear that there should be no leisure travel at all until further notice.
‘This will help us to save lives and protect the NHS. Companies should not encourage people to book holidays or staycations within the UK whilst the advice is to stay home.’
Las Kitchenas here we come! Locked down Britons post hilarious memes on social media as they joke about their Easter holidays to their own front room during coronavirus quarantine
With the Easter break fast approaching, locked down Brit have retained their trademark humour by making light of what is a very bleak situation.
With travel plans being cancelled left, right and centre, many face the prospect of staring at the same four walls during a prolonged period of quarantine as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.
The Government has urged the nation to remain inside, venturing out only for essential activity such as a local shop for necessities or a daily exercise.
Despite plans in ruins, however, Brits have taken to social media to post hilarious memes in an attempt to see the brighter side of life.
Some joke that an exotic getaway has now had a minor tweak, with the destination of ‘Las Kitchenas’ or ‘Santa Bedroomes’ soon to be stamped on the passport instead.
Some families are now hit with the double header of not only having a relaxing break cancelled, but also now have to face up to the prospect of having the children home from school for the foreseeable future.
Many have joked about the challenge of having to entertain the little ones, as well as balancing a home-work schedule and also factor in the added extra of homeschooling.
One Twitter uses mused about the different ‘exotic’ locations around the house he may travel
Over on Instagram jokes were being cracked about Easter getaway plans taking shape
The reality of the Easter holiday is certainly hitting home with all the kids away from school
Parents have joked about balancing the act of homeschooling with working remotely at home
Already comical memes have appeared after home isolation has altered the concept of days
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