South Tyneside Council is working hard to balance the needs of local residents and businesses while supporting people using South Shields seafront to stay as safe as possible.
Under the Government's Alert Level 5 - 'Stay at Home' national restrictions - outdoor exercise should be taken locally wherever possible.
However, people can travel a short distance within their own area to do so if necessary, for example, to access an open space. Seafront businesses that provide essential goods and services as defined by the Government are also permitted to continue trading throughout the restrictions.
The Council is calling on people to stay home as much as possible while reiterating the importance of staying local if they do venture out for exercise. It comes following concerns about numbers of people visiting the Borough's coastline over recent weeks,
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "We know how difficult the restrictions are for everyone, but we must all continue to work together to reduce the spread of coronavirus in our communities while the vaccination programme is rolled out.
"The national restrictions require people to stay at home unless essential, and if they do go out for a permitted reason, such as for exercise, then they should always stay local.
"Although South Tyneside is a great place to live and visit and our coastline is beautiful, we are appealing for visitors to stay away at this time. This is in line with the Government guidance which states that people must avoid travelling outside of their own village, town or the part of a city where they live, with any journeys kept as short and infrequent as possible.
"Residents should not be travelling long distances for their exercise with plenty of parks and open spaces across the Borough for people to enjoy safely and close to home.
"However, we appreciate that for many people local to the beach, a regular walk along the seafront can be good for body and mind. We need to take a balanced approach here and will continue to do all we can to support those local residents who choose to exercise on our foreshore, to do so safely.
"Meanwhile, we reiterate calls for people to stay at home as much as possible. If they choose to use the seafront, then this is down to individual choice. We would urge people to be responsible and take the necessary measures to keep themselves and others safe. It is imperative that they respect the rules, particularly around social distancing."
To support people to keep a safe distance from each other, the Council has brought forward its annual beach cleansing operations, which usually take place ahead of the visitor season and involve clearing windswept sand from footpaths and walkways.
Additional signage and banners have also been installed on railings, lampposts and litter bins reminding people of the need to stay two metres apart. Mobile advertising, reinforcing the 'stay home, stay local' message will also be seen over the coming weeks aimed at people who are travelling to the seafront from outside the local area.
Council officers have also been out talking to seafront businesses that are permitted to operate under the Government's national restrictions, reminding and advising them on measures to help ensure the safety of staff and customers.
Toilets remain available to support local people to use the area for their exercise.
Coastal car parks also remain open at this time so that local residents can make those short journeys as well as to help keep roads clear for emergency vehicles and prevent issues around people parking in residential areas.
However, the Council continues to keep the issue under constant review.
The current Alert Level 5 'stay at home' national restrictions require people to leave their home for permitted reasons only, and if they do, they must stay local and not meet with anyone from outside their own household or support bubble.
For further information about the impact of coronavirus on South Tyneside services as well as details of the current national restrictions visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus