Police and councils across south London are reminding people to stay indoors and respect the rules regarding exercise this Easter holiday after further reports of people breaking the rules.

The firm message that lockdown measures remain in place amid the Covid-19 health emergency, and people must not make non-essential trips to enjoy the sun or lives will be lost.

One council tweeted that "this isn't a holiday, it's a national emergency" after residents were spotted ignoring social distancing guidelines and taking time out to relax and sunbathe.



The warning comes as 24 degree heat forecast over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

Since the lockdown, police forces in London have reported people flouting the rules, visiting parks in groups, sunbathing and enjoying the warm weather.

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Parks across south London will remain open to help residents exercise, but police have warned people against non-essential trips to enjoy the sun.

Sunbathing, sitting on benches or grassed areas and sports (even if 2 metres apart) are amongst activities banned, whilst walking, jogging or cycling on your own or with members of your household is permitted.

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A spokesperson for the Met Police's South West Basic Command Unit said that whilst the vast majority of people have adhered to government advice to stay at home, a number have not."

"We received calls of people sunbathing in parks, having picnics and playing football. In response, our officers did what they do best – they spoke to people.

“They explained the restrictions, dispersed groups and directed people to return home where appropriate. We police by consent and we will continue to do that.

“As we go into the bank holiday weekend, officers will continue to patrol our open spaces and parks, and continue to work with the public.

“Officers will engage with anyone breaching the guidance, explain why the restrictions are so important, educate them as to what they need to do and encourage them to go home. Enforcement will be a last resort.”

Those in London and beyond with second homes or those looking for an Easter break have also been warned, and anyone caught travelling to the West Country will be fined and sent away, police have said.

As of Wednesday, there have been 7,000 deaths and 60,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK, and over 14,000 of these are in the capital.

The daily number of cases does not yet appear to be slowing down with a further 765 infections in the last 24 hours, and the Government has said the UK lockdown is likely to be extended next week when the measures are due to be officially reviewed.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has said the UK was just beginning to see this strategy starting to work" and people needed to "stick with it".

Parks in Greenwich and Richmond have been reported as particularly bad for socialising isolation, and police have been busy breaking up crowds and sunbathers.

In Dartford, bikers have been fined for flouting the rules, and TfL have also released an urgent warning telling the public to not travel unless completely necessary.