Volunteers ‘disinfect’ town after visitors flock to coast
PUBLISHED: 14:44 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:45 23 March 2020
Volunteers disinfected cash machines and handrails across their town after swathes of visitors flocked to the Norfolk coast.
The group were seen cleaning various surfaces in Hunstanton during a weekend which saw thousands ignore social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Hundreds could be seen walking along the town’s seafront on both Saturday and Sunday, while others crammed into fish and chip shops to buy takeaways.
Government advice has recommended avoided large gatherings of people and keeping at least two metres apart in order to prevent the virus from spreading.
Having witnessed the influx of visitors, members of Coronavirus Mutual Aid West Norfolk - a newly-formed support group - took it upon themselves to “clean up after them”.
Rita Caldicott, who helps coordinate the group’s activities in Hunstanton, said: “On Saturdays I volunteer at the hospice shop and was expecting it to be quiet, but I was absolutely gobsmacked at how busy town was - it was absolutely heaving.
“People were congregating, having fish and chips and simply weren’t taking the advice they’ve been given. We were chatting about it in our group and some people, led by Robin Green, said they were going to go out and clean all the ATMs and railings around the town.
“They went out on Saturday and Sunday night which was absolutely amazing, and some local businesses donated cloths and sprays to help them.”
In the interests of their own safety, the volunteers have decided not to continue their cleaning activities as social distancing guidance becomes stricter.
Meanwhile, Hunstanton mayor Anthony Bishopp warned people to take the pandemic seriously.
He said: “I am disappointed to see so many people in Hunstanton ignoring the guidance and simply enjoying the sunshine - oblivious to concerns for the welfare or the residents of the town.
“I appeal to everyone to stop unnecessary travel and socialising because this is the only way we will reduce deaths. We all need to play our part and do this now.
“A number of people are coming to Norfolk and using their second homes or holiday homes to seek shelter from densely populated areas. I would ask them to ensure they practice social distancing.”