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Coastguard plea: "stay at home"

They say they've had a number of calls about groups on beaches.

HM Coastguard says people are still going to the coast and beach despite Government warnings to stay at home because of COVID-19. 

In a statement it said the service is getting a number of calls reporting groups of people on beaches across the UK. 

Pete Mizen, assistant director for HM Coastguard, said: “The rules are very simple and can be found on the Government website. Stay at home. The risk of spreading Coronavirus is huge and while you might be okay, the person you give it to may not. And if you get into trouble and have to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, you’re then putting frontline emergency responders at risk of COVID-19 too.

“At this time of the year the beaches aren’t lifeguarded which is a double risk to you and our emergency responders. Help us to help you. Stay at home.”

The RNLI has also said it's lifeguards will not be on beaches. In a statement, the charity said: "Following the Government’s instruction as of 23 March for people to stay at home and avoid gathering outdoors, the RNLI has made the decision to immediately pause the rollout of lifeguard patrols onto beaches. This is to ensure lifeguards adhere to the Government’s instructions to limit contact between people and encourage the public to do the same. Our lifeboat stations remain on service.

Lifeguards work and train in groups, which makes keeping the requirement to remain 2 metres apart difficult and the nature of their work with the public puts them – and beach visitors – at risk of close contact. Also, their usual activity includes encouraging people to visit patrolled beaches and swim in certain areas – this activity would go against the Government’s clear instruction for people to stay at home, maintain social distancing and not congregate in groups"

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