Brighton now and then: Sunbathers stay away despite 20C heat

At least people in Brighton got the message! Beach looks deserted as sunbathers follow government advice to stay away during lockdown despite blazing 20C heat – in stark contrast to one year ago when crowds packed onto the pebbles

These startling pictures show just what a difference a year can make.

On the same date in 2019, there was barely any standing room, let alone a place to pitch for sunbathers on Brighton and Hove seafront.

But a year later, just a handful of individuals and small groups have arrived at the same spot, as tourists and residents largely follow government advice to stay home and the UK’s lockdown against coronavirus continues.

Then and now: Sunbathers were packed onto the seafront at Brighton and Hove a year ago…but it was largely deserted today

Brighton’s famous city pier is all but abandoned and its wide thoroughfare, bustling with crowds enjoying ice creams and coffee just 12 months ago, appears bereft of any passersby.

The scenes are all the more startling given today’s relatively warm 20C sunshine, with the forecast remaining sunny throughout most of the week ahead.

Yet the government’s message for people to stay home is generally being followed.

Sunday’s scenes come amid health secretary Matt Hancock blasting subathers for breaking coronavirus  rules as he warned the government will ban ‘all forms’ of outdoor exercise if a ‘small minority’ refuse to stay at home. 

Tourists and locals enjoyed the spring sunshine last year, with cafes dotted along the seafront all open for business

The same scene taken on Sunday reveals empty benches and tables and cafes shut to the public following lockdown rules

The Health Secretary said it was ‘quite unbelievable’ some people are still not following government guidance and stressed the plea not to go outside apart from in very specific circumstances was ‘not a request, it is a requirement’. 

There was barely any standing room on Brighton and Hove beach on April 4, 2019, as the sunshine brought out the sunbathers

The same exact spot was largely abandoned today as the British public heed government advice to stay at home

Revellers packed the pavements and enjoyed the good weather close to the Odeon cinema in Brighton on 4 April, 2019

Today the area has been largely deserted, with the Odeon cinema closed to the public and people staying away 

A number of other countries have banned outdoor exercise in a bid to slow the spread of the disease and Mr Hancock said the government is willing to take the same action if people do not comply with existing restrictions. 

He said: ‘My message is really clear: If you don’t want us to have to take the step to ban exercise of all forms outside of your own home, then you have got to follow the rules.

‘The vast majority of people are following the rules. Let’s not have a minority spoiling it for everybody.’

A crowd of thousands turned out to enjoy Brighton and Hove seafront just a year ago, with many enjoying the weather

A handful of people are dotted along the beachfront, despite the forecast of warm weather continuing into much of this week

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