THE public has been praised for staying away from Tendring’s beaches over the sunny weekend.

Tendring Council and Essex Police warned people not to descend upon beaches as temperatures soared in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officers from both organisations maintained a high-visibility presence in key areas, including beaches in Clacton, Walton, Frinton, Dovercourt and Brightlingsea, to ensure any visitors were following the rules on exercise and social distancing.

To discourage visitors, the council closed its car parks and installed signs along its beaches warning people to stay at home.

Nigel Brown, communications manager at Clacton Pier, said people seemed to be heeding the Government’s instructions and continued to do so at the weekend.

“I’ve been taking my daily exercise walking along the upper and lower promenades and it is noticeable how few people have been about,” he said.

“There have been dog walkers and others exercising but not many and they have been well apart and not socialising or sitting around.

“It seems people have not been coming to our coast and locals have been largely staying at home - as they should at this time.

“It’s good to see the message is getting home and we look forward to opening up the pier in due course and when it is safe to do so.

“It will be great to see happy smiling faces back there in the not too distant future.”

The council said anyone who was seen to be deliberately ignoring the rules on social distancing was spoken to by officers.

Patrols were also carried out at beauty spots to ensure they were only being used by people close enough to walk or cycle to them.

This advice was reinforced to those outside of the district who may have been tempted to make the most of the good weather and head to the beaches.

Neil Stock, leader of Tendring Council, said: “Usually we are shouting loudly about our beautiful beaches and top attractions, but in this new phenomenon it is important that everyone embraces the concept of staying at home and staying apart from others.

“So for now we would like to see our beaches stay empty, and would encourage everyone to come back and visit the Essex Sunshine Coast once this situation is over.”

“For an area where tourism is worth more than £1million per day to the economy each year, we are really keen for visitors; but not under the current circumstances.

“To be clear for our local residents, if you live close to the beach then you can use this for your daily exercise, but you must observe social distancing, staying at least six feet (two metres) away from others, and avoid touching shared surfaces such as handrails.”

Chief Insp Lily Benbow, district commander, said: “Our officers were pleased to see how empty Tendring’s beaches and parks were for the most part over the weekend, and our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who stayed away.

“I know it’s really tough at the minute, but we are all in this together and hopefully we’ll all soon be able to enjoy our fantastic coastline once the danger has passed and the restrictions are lifted.

“I would like to remind people who may be planning extended family barbecues over the Easter weekend that social distancing isn’t just about staying at home, but only having essential contact with people.”

“This should only be for medical appointments or shopping for food and basic supplies, and contact should be limited otherwise to only your household.

“Again, I know that’s really difficult as Easter is traditionally a time for families to get together and we’ve all had to find alternative ways of keeping in touch with loved ones we don’t live with.

“But the community spirit in Essex and especially in Tendring is as strong as ever during these challenging times – so thank you from us.

“Enforcing the measures in place will always be a last resort and we know the majority of residents want to – and are - doing the right thing, to protect the NHS and ultimately save lives.

“Please take care and stay safe by adhering to the Government’s guidance.”