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Anger as day trippers flock to north coast once again despite lockdown

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Despite the ongoing lockdown restrictions, seaside towns and beaches on the north coast were jammed with day trippers on Sunday. Photos: Margaret McLaughlin

Despite the ongoing lockdown restrictions, seaside towns and beaches on the north coast were jammed with day trippers on Sunday. Photos: Margaret McLaughlin

Despite the ongoing lockdown restrictions, seaside towns and beaches on the north coast were jammed with day trippers on Sunday. Photos: Margaret McLaughlin

Day trippers have once again flocked to the scenic Causeway Coast despite the lockdown rules banning non-essential travel.

There were crowded scenes in both Portrush and Portstewart town centres yesterday afternoon and long traffic queues on all approach roads.

Despite the ongoing restrictions and Stormont advice to stay at home, the seaside towns and beaches on the north coast were jammed, with people turning up anyway.

Non-essential travel is out as part of the Executive's current lockdown.

Photographs showed a large number of visitors walking through Portstewart as nose-to-tail traffic choked the promenade.

Last month First Minister Arlene Foster said the Executive was forced to consider tougher measures as a consequence of the crowds that descended on the north coast around New Year.

Yesterday afternoon the PSNI issued a warning that it was conducting vehicle checkpoints in the area to ensure public health regulations were being followed.

Posting on social media a few hours later, Police Causeway Coast and Glens said: "We are dealing with large volumes of traffic on the north coast.

"In line with the health protection regulations, we are reminding the public of the need to maintain safe social distance and to stay within their bubbles. We are asking all of you to work with us to ensure safe spaces for all."

Causeway Coast and Glens mayor Mark Fielding said he had been contacted by residents throughout the day who were angry that crowds had descended once again. "We want to get out of the current lockdown and be in a better place, but scenes like this when people are flocking to the area doesn't help matters," he added.

"At the end of the day there isn't much for people to do, as apart from a few takeaways, there's very little open, so I don't really know what they are coming all this way for.

"While I appreciate that people have to get out for exercise and fresh air, they should be staying close to home and not travelling up to 40 or 50 miles to here."

Many locals took to social media saying the scenes along the north coast were "like a summer's day".

Also yesterday, police and the National Trust urged motorists and the public to stay away from the Divis Road area of Belfast due to "huge amounts of traffic" and "dangerous roadside parking".

Officers responded to a report of traffic congestion and parked cars causing obstructions close to Divis Mountain.

Last month the National Trust appealed for the public to exercise close to home after hundreds took to Black Mountain. It tweeted yesterday: "We're already experiencing huge amounts of traffic on Divis Mountain this morning resulting in dangerous roadside parking, which the PSNI are managing.

"The car parks are now full so please do not travel here today."

Belfast Telegraph


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