Crowds ignore lockdown warnings and flock to ‘heaving’ Blackpool

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Sun seekers have ignored pleas to stay away from Blackpool, as the surrounding areas prepare for tough new corona virus restrictions.”Hardly anyone was wearing masks or social distancing – it was shocking”

Visitors flocked to the popular seaside town over the weekend, even as the rest of Lancashire prepares for new localised measures to come into force.

Social media users reported queues for attractions and gridlocked traffic, with crowds of people pictured filling the resort’s promenade. Gem Concannon, 36, from Northwich, Cheshire, said she had visited the resort on Saturday with her family.

“It was heaving, hardly anyone was wearing masks or social distancing. It was shocking,” she said. “I’ve never seen it that busy before.”

Extra measures, preventing households from mixing in private homes and meaning pubs and restaurants must shut by 10pm, are due to come into force to tackle rising corona virus rates in Lancashire on Tuesday.

However Blackpool, which is run by a separate unitary authority, will not be subject to the restrictions.

The town’s famous Illuminations are on display until January, with the normal run extended for two months to boost tourism.

Police had been expecting large crowds over the weekend thanks to the sunny September weather.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Deputy Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary Terry Woods said: “Going to Blackpool, if you’re not from Blackpool, this weekend and mingling in any large crowds, that is not looking after my family and it wouldn’t be looking after your family.

“What we need to do is focus in on protecting yourself and your family. Make sensible decisions to protect yourselves, going to Blackpool in mass numbers is quite the opposite of protecting yourselves.”Infection rates in Blackpool are lower than in some parts of Lancashire but the area has seen an increase in positive cases.

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On the same day, Blackpool’s director of public health Dr Arif Rajpura said: “The special measures that have been announced by the Government across large swathes of the north of England over the past 48 hours illustrate that nowhere is immune to this sort of intervention.

“It is absolutely critical that residents and businesses adhere to the new ‘rule of six’ restrictions and follow all Covid guidelines around social distancing and wearing of face coverings.

“The same advice goes to those visiting our resort. The only way to stop the spread of the virus is to respect the rules which are there for a reason.”

Source: Evening Standard

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