South Shields seafront is quiet as coronavirus advice starts to sink in

Government calls for people to avoid public areas seem to be hitting home on South Tyneside.

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 6:14 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 7:07 pm

There was concern more stringent controls may have to be imposed to restrict the spread of coronavirus after reports at the weekend of crowds flocking to public parks and gardens and the coast as a result of the decision to close restaurants, cafes, pubs and other public buildings.

But despite many people being sent home from work and schools closing early for Easter, there was little sign of people flocking to Sandhaven beach today.

There were a few hardy souls braving the biting wind, but those who had ventured out seemed to be sticking to the advice not to congregate in large groups and to maintain a safe distance from each other.

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Social distancing at Sandhaven beach

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Dennis and Diane Stewart, both 72, said they were coping well so far with the rules apart from one thing.

“We are self-isolating as best we can but that means having to keep away from the grandchildren,” said Dennis.

The pair were making the most of what they feared may be the last chance to enjoy the seafront for some time, but were philosophical about future restrictions.

Maria and John Thompson with daughter Gabby

“I am concerned but whatever has to happen is going to happen,” said Dennis.

Maria and John Thompson are bother teachers and have been sent home along with daughter Gabby, 11, who attends Argyle House School in Sunderland.

Maria, 45, and 43-year-old John will still be required to go back into work occasionally, with schools operating a skeleton staff rota to provide lessons for vulnerable youngsters and the children of key workers.

The couple hope the Government will not end up banning people from the seafront.

One couple on the beach

“You can keep your safe distance from other people down here,” said Maria.“You don’t have to speak to anybody else.

“We had to get out of the house and what else could we do? You need to be outside, you need to go for a walk.”

John agreed: “Places like this, you can can still come for a walk and keep a safe distance,” he said.

Dennis Stewart
Sandhaven beach is almost deserted