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A drone will help review social distancing along the seafront this Friday in case more space for social distancing is needed for visitors over the rest of the bank holiday weekend.

Portsmouth City Council will be assessing whether further action is needed to increase safety along the seafront. Earlier in the year, drone footage gave the council a better understanding of how the whole of the seafront area was being used. By doing this again, the council will be able to use an evidence-based approach to inform any decision to improve safety.

One option would be to create more space at the western end of the seafront. This would mean the road would be closed to vehicles along part of Clarence Esplanade and it could be in place from Saturday 3 April until Monday 5 April for the bank holiday. Clear signs would raise awareness and diversions would be put in place. If needed, the closure would start from Mozzarella Joes to just west of Serpentine Road.

New signs have been put up along the seafront, reminding people to make space for others and the rules around how many people can get together outside – up to six people who don’t live together or two households can meet outside. The new seafront posters are also encouraging people to be kind and think of others when they’re out and about, especially at busier times.

The overflow car park on Southsea Common will be opened if there is excess demand for parking. There are no plans to close roads to the eastern end of the seafront to minimise disruption.

Also, Castle Field has opened ahead of the Easter weekend and people are already making use of this for socially distanced picnics.

Tristan Samuels, Director of Regeneration, said “We want people to enjoy the seafront safely and if the evidence shows a lack of social distancing at the western end of the seafront we could close a section of Clarence Esplanade to vehicles. However, we will only do this if the evidence shows it is needed. We will continue to monitor the seafront over the coming months as we expect more people will be staying in the UK for their holidays this year.”

Over the weekend there will also be reminders that the beautiful seafront is there for everyone. To help keep it safe residents are encouraged to:

  • Walk or cycle where you can. If you have to drive, park considerately.
  • If using one of the rental e-scooters, never ride with more than one person on the scooter and don’t use pavements that are solely for walking
  • If you are visiting the seafront and you’re able to, why not go for a walk on the beach rather than the prom. This will give space for those less able.
  • If it feels too busy on parts of your route wear a face covering outside. Alternatively come back another time.
  • Take your rubbish home with you, or use one of the bins available. If a bin is full, tell the council by using the ‘Report an overflowing bin’ form on their website https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/all-tasks/report/

The council is also working closely with businesses on the seafront to make sure they have the right safety measures and queuing systems in place. The council’s covid business compliance officers, community advisors and community wardens will be working closely with the police as we head towards the busier summer season to make sure the seafront can be enjoyed safely by the whole community.

Anyone worried about a serious breach of coronavirus regulations, like a large gathering, or a business that might not have the right safety measures in place can tell the council or the police via Portsmouth City Council’s website and the incident will be investigated. Council enforcement teams and police partners will be out and about all weekend. Breaches can be reported by visiting www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirussecurityreporting.

For more information on the latest government guidance visit https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/