ISLANDERS and visitors are facing up to a new reality of being asked to stay indoors and resist the miles of beautiful coastline.

These pictures were taken on Mersea at the weekend.

They show people acting sensibly and keeping safely away from each other while enjoying water sports and idyllic walks.

But Mersea mayor Carl Powling said others flouted the rules.

He said there were large gatherings on the beach and at huts along the waterfront, with some even lighting barbecues and continuing to socialise.

Mr Powling urged people to stay at home for the foreseeable future.

“Usually, we love having tourists here and our businesses and our economy relies on them,” he said, “but our restaurants and cafés should be closed.

“Everybody should be staying at home, staying indoors and following the government guidance.”

A volunteer group has been set up on the island to help residents who are vulnerable and in need assistance from others.

Mr Powling said people needed to take things seriously.

He said:”At the weekend there were barbecues and picnics going on.

“And it is not just Mersea, I gather there were issues across East Anglia and beyond.

“People need to follow the advice to avoid spreading the virus.”