PEOPLE are being urged to stay away from Tendring's beaches during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The warning from Tendring Council and Essex Police comes as temperatures across north Essex are expected to soar this weekend.

Officers from both organisations have maintained a high-visibility presence in key areas, including Clacton seafront, to keep people safe while social distancing takes place.

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

The council said that anyone seen to be deliberately ignoring national rules on social distancing is being spoken to, and patrols are also taking in beauty spots to ensure they are only being used by people close enough to walk or cycle to them.

National guidance, while encouraging people to do up to one hour’s exercise each day, is that people should do this using paths and amenities close to their home, and not to drive out to locations especially.

This advice is being reinforced to those outside of the district who may be tempted to make the most of the good weather forecast for the coming weekend, and head to the beaches.

Neil Stock, leader of Tendring Council, said telling people to stay away was an unprecedented message but an important one.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

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Inspector Martin Richards, of the Tendring Community Policing Team, said his officers were still serving the district.

“Tendring policing teams even during these difficult times will continue to protect our communities along with their property, and drive to disrupt criminality in all its forms,” he said.

“It remains imperative that we all adhere to this different life style being legally asked of us to follow, which will fundamentally support the amazing key workers and especially NHS staff who are risking their lives to save lives.

“We must follow the guidance to socially isolate and minimise any unnecessary outdoor exposure, which for the vast majority this is happening.”