A SCIENTIFIC advisor to the government said there has never been a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a crowded beach.

Last year, thousands of people flocked to Bournemouth beach during a heatwave when the lockdown restrictions eased.

BCP Council declared a ‘major incident’ and urged people to stay away from the beach amid fears that social distancing could not be maintained during the pandemic. 

Poole Hospital also declared a ‘major incident standby’ with a multi-agency emergency response activated to co-ordinate resources across the area to tackle issues with crowding and incidents of ‘public disorder’.

Professor Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, told the Science and Technology Committee: “Over the summer we were treated to all this on the television news and pictures of crowded beaches, and there was an outcry about this.

“There were no outbreaks linked to crowded beaches, there’s never been a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a beach ever anywhere in the world to the best of my knowledge.”

Bournemouth Echo:

As previously reported, BCP Council said it is working on a summer plan so there is not a repeat of the scenes on the beach last year.

Speaking to the Echo, Councillor Drew Mellor, leader of BCP Council, said: “We are a holiday area. We are proud of that, the livelihoods of many local people depend on the visitor economy, and we look forward to welcoming people back to our amazing towns and beaches, when the time is right.

“We will do whatever it takes to avoid a situation like last summer. Let’s be clear, the issue was not the number of people who came to our beaches.

“It was the combination of lockdown ending, furlough and the delayed ability to open up our services due to national restrictions, that resulted in our resorts being overwhelmed. We will not let that happen again."

On mass gatherings, Professor Woolhouse said events such as horse racing are an exception because they do not involve social distancing and there are “pinch points” like travel and refreshment facilities.

“I think we do have to understand where the risks are so that we can do as much as possible safely,” he added.