Caroline Lucas MP has warned that Brighton could be next to have a localised lockdown, due to the large number of people set to hit their beaches.
On Saturday Lucas who represents Brighton Pavilion warned that as pubs reopen and people flock to the area, there are “risks” that Brighton could become a “hotspot.”
In an open letter to MPs, Lucas said, “The situation in Leicester further evidences how fragile things remain. “The risks of Brighton and Hove becoming a hotspot are high because of its popularity with visitors.”
The Green MP said, “For good reason, the city is a popular destination for visitors.
“Its proximity to London, and position on the coast, along with its large number of independent shops and cafes, creates a unique feel which has long made the city a popular place for day-trippers.
“Research from Visit England shows that the Palace Pier in Brighton has traditionally been the most visited free tourist attraction outside of London, with annual visitor numbers of almost 5m, and the city has about 11m visitors annually.
“While I am a huge champion of all that is brilliant in the city, and I understand the many businesses desperate to re-open and resume trading, I am concerned that visitor numbers could have the potential to compromise public safety if the authorities are not provided with greater support to manage the situation.”
Lucas added, “It is hugely important that people visiting Brighton and Hove are able to do so safely, that public safety isn’t compromised by social distancing not being possible and that visitor numbers do not undermine the safety and freedoms of local residents.”
Government estimates put the R rate in the south east region, which includes Brighton, between 0.7 and 1.0.
Councillor Carmen Appich, chairwoman of the Tourism, Economy, Culture & Communities committee Brighton and Hove Council said on Friday, “We want everyone who comes into the city centre to enjoy themselves but not at the cost of others.
“We all need to stay safe and consider our local communities.
“COVID-19 has not gone away and the NHS is still working hard to save lives.
“We should all stay two metres apart if possible, use hand sanitiser and wear a mask on public transport, in shops and public spaces if you can.
“Physical distancing is key to keeping coronavirus at bay.
“Please allow extra space between yourself and others.”