Stay safe, stay apart in Southend-on-Sea

Published Friday, 15th May 2020

Person walking along Southend Seafront

If you are out and about at any time, please stay at least 2 metres apart from anyone you don’t live with.

That is the message from the council, as it urges local people to follow national guidance on social distancing as the weekend approaches.

A ‘Stay Safe, Stay Apart’ campaign has started on social media with local people being urged to stay apart from others when they are outdoors.

Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care says: “Our clear message is to stay at least 2 metres apart from anyone you don’t live with.

“Although limits on exercising and being outdoors have been eased, we are still fighting this pandemic and we all need to do our bit to stop the spread and control coronavirus and save lives.

“So whether you are out running, walking or cycling, please stay safe and stay apart. Please also make sure you are regularly and properly washing or sanitising your hands when out, and when you return home too.”

Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety, says: “Physical distancing and ensuring people stay safe and well by staying apart is now a fact of life.

“That is why we are now urging people to stay safe, stay apart whatever they are doing.

“The measures we have put in along the seafront will help people do that, but we also urge everyone across Southend-on-Sea to self-enforce too, and take individual personal responsibility to keep their distance from those they don’t live with. So please stay safe, stay apart.”

In further measures, from tomorrow, Western Esplanade will be temporarily widened to allow more space for local people to safely enjoy the seafront if they decide to visit.

The widened promenade will be created from Chalkwell to close to the Pier, and will be made possible by a contraflow system which is being installed overnight tonight.

This will still allow cars to travel in both directions, but reduce lane width and keep all parking bays along Western Esplanade suspended.

Seafront car parks previously closed will reopen from tomorrow, but the council has decided to keep all seafront parking bays across the Borough suspended for this weekend. This will be re-assessed ahead of the bank holiday, with the safety of local people the top priority.

Car park users are being asked to download and use the MOBON app for cashless and contactless parking by phone. Visit the Mobon website to download. Parking machines will be regularly cleansed and sanitised but cashless parking is strongly encouraged.

Cllr Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, says: “Taking all of these decisions has been a very tricky balancing act.

“Due to the national announcement, it is clear that we cannot now stop people driving to Southend-on-Sea from afar, but our message is that we want local people from Eastwood to Shoeburyness to be able to use their local seafront facilities safely, be it through walking or driving if they choose.  An influx of visitors from outside the Borough will not make this possible and make social distancing impossible.

“So whilst we have re-opened seafront car parks, all of the seafront bays remain suspended at this time, we have a contraflow system in place to create as much space as possible for pedestrians, and we are saying to people outside of the Borough – ‘Don’t Visit Southend just yet. Please leave it for our locals just a little longer.”