VISITORS heading to beaches across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have been reminded of the measures currently in place now the hospitality and tourism sector has reopened.

BCP Council has issued information on the “multi-agency” plans in place to help everyone enjoy their visit to the beach.

These are outlined below:

Dorset Beaches:

Social distancing

A ‘one metre plus’ social distancing rule is currently in place in England.

Banners and signage are being used on the seafront to help remind people of the rule with people urged to move to quieter sections of the beach if they feel the distance between themselves and others is too close.

Last month, BCP Council declared a major incident after thousands of people flocked to the beaches with concerns raised over social distancing.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned the government could close beaches if social distancing rules were ignored

BCP Council said: “Councils do not have the power to close public beaches. Police could issue temporary dispersal orders if it’s deemed absolutely necessary. As reported following the major incident on the June 25, only government intervention would result in the closure of beaches at this time.”

Security staff have been recruited to help support seasonal staff on the beaches.

Lifeguards

Most of the beaches in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area have a lifeguard service provided by the RNLI, but for exact locations and patrol times, you’ll need to check on the RNLI website.

People are urged to always swim at a lifeguarded beach between the red and yellow flags and never swim alone.

Dorset Beaches:

Picture by Tabitha McCormick

Litter

Waste is everyone’s responsibility and when bins are full, people are asked instead to find an emptier bin or take their rubbish home.

BCP Council said its beach cleansing teams operate from first light until afternoon.

A spokesperson said: “This is by a full-time team of six, supplemented by seven seasonal staff (for Bournemouth and Poole beaches) and a contractor assisting on Christchurch beaches. At anticipated peak times, the bins for Bournemouth (the busiest beach in the area) are collected twice daily – at first light and then in the early evening. In addition, more bins are brought in to cope for busier periods.”

Dorset Beaches:

Barbecues on the beach

Barbecues are only permitted on the beach after 6pm. People are asked to extinguish them by pouring water onto the coals, not sand, and waiting for it to cool before disposing of it. Hot coals shouldn’t be placed in the bins or buried in the sand.

BCP Council said: “Our seafront rangers and overnight security patrols always ask people to put out their barbecues and dispose of them safely if they are not following the rules.

“If you're concerned that a barbecue is a fire risk, please call 999.”

Dorset Beaches:

Cycling on the seafront

There’s no cycling allowed on the seafront between 10m and 6pm in July and August.

BCP Council said: “You must not cycle in groups. You must also follow the usual rules for cycling on the promenade outside of 10am-6pm, by keeping to the speed limit of 10 miles per hour, giving way to pedestrians and getting off your bike if you see a ‘no cycling’ sign.”

Camping on the beach

Camping overnight on the beach is not allowed. BCP Council said: “Scenes of camping across the beaches witnessed before 4 July were against national rules and guidance. It is not anticipated that this will be a significant ongoing concern now that hotels, B&Bs and campsites are reopening.

“Where necessary, our seafront rangers and overnight security patrols always ask people not to camp and call the police for assistance if needed. “

Dorset Beaches:

Illegal parking near beaches

Roads can’t be closed without it being advertised for seven days in advance. Last month, BCP Council issued issued 993 fixed penalty notices for illegally parked cars on June 25 alone.

BCP Council said: “The scenes of illegally parked cars on 25 & 26 June were considered exceptional due to circumstances beyond our control.

“Our Civil Enforcement Officers are working every day across Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole to tackle illegal parking. We can’t raise the level of parking fines as they are set by the government, although we are actively exploring tow-away zones for fly-parked cars as a priority.

“On days anticipated to be busier, we will be increasing the enforcement provision and providing Parking Marshalls at entrances to car parks.

“We know where our traffic hotspots are and if necessary, will close Bath Road (Pier flyover) and divert traffic, and close Banks Road, Sandbanks (at Shore Road) allowing exiting traffic only.”

Pedestrians and cyclists, residents, employees, and buses will continue to be able to access Banks Road.

Toilets

All toilets along the seafront are now open from 10am to 7pm. People are urged to follow social distancing guidelines and wash their hands thoroughly. They are also asked to carry their own hand sanitiser and hand gels if they think they are likely to use a public toilet when they’re out.

BCP Council said: “The toilets are currently being cleaned on average three times a day and during cleaning, toilets may be shut to allow our staff to do their job safely. Our beach cleansing team are also cleaning and disinfecting behind beach huts.”

Dog walking on the beach

The usual beach dog walk restrictions are back in place with dog owners urged to make sure they keep to the dog friendly zones in each area.

BCP Council said: “Your dog must be under control at all times and you must keep yourself and your dog 2 metres away (or 1+ metre where 2 metres isn’t viable) from others wherever possible.

“Do not touch other people's dogs, and make sure to wash your hands before and after you handle your dog. Please clean up any mess your dog makes and put it in a bin. Our waste teams continue to empty dog waste bins so please use them.”