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‘Don’t infect us!’ Provocative banners tell second-home owners to stay away from Suffolk coast

PUBLISHED: 17:09 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 02 April 2020

Southwold town councillors Simon Flunder and David Beavan with the banner protesting against visitors to the resort during the virus pandemic Picture: JO FLUNDER

Southwold town councillors Simon Flunder and David Beavan with the banner protesting against visitors to the resort during the virus pandemic Picture: JO FLUNDER

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Huge banners with the message: “Please respect us, don’t infect us” have been put up in Southwold in a bid to deter second-home owners flocking to the coast during the coronavirus crisis.

One sign has been placed on the A12 leading into the town Picture: DAVID BEAVANOne sign has been placed on the A12 leading into the town Picture: DAVID BEAVAN

Councillors in Southwold have commissioned two bright yellow banners, measuring about 12ft long, which will be placed at the Town Hall and on the A12.

David Beavan said he and his peers have been left frustrated as many Londoners, who own second homes in Southwold, have been ditching the capital in favour of the seaside resort recently.

As a result, there are lingering fears that those making the move will be unintentionally bringing coronavirus with them and infecting Suffolk’s elderly population.

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Mr Beavan said: “There have been tales of people unloading suitcases in the last few days.

“The whole point of social distancing is to stop people moving about. Coming here defeats the whole point. It’s selfish.

“The pubs and restaurants are not open, so the only thing to do is go to the beach.

“It only takes one or two people to ignore the rules. We’ve all got to make sacrifices at the moment.”

Residents in seaside resorts, such as Southwold, Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, began reporting a sudden influx of visitors looking to escape virus hotspots several weeks ago.

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Though government restrictions state people should remain at their primary residence during the lockdown period, people have still been flocking to the towns on the coast.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “It is imperative people comply with the government measures to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed and to ensure lives are saved.

“We all need to work together to protect our NHS and other public services.”

However, Mr Beavan ordered the banners with the hope of deterring newly-arrived visitors.

Town mayor Ian Bradbury has backed the banner scheme, believing the town is at breaking point.

He said: “There’s a need to send out a serious message that emergency services will not be able to cope.”

Mr Beavan also said Southwold residents are worried about another spate of visitors over the forthcoming bank holiday weekend.
He added: “We are worried about Easter. People will be thinking just one day at the seaside won’t matter - but it will.”

MORE: Fears visitors from London could speed virus spread


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