Thousands of Britons ignored repeated warnings to stay home as part of ongoing efforts to clamp down on coronavirus by heading to DIY stores, parks and beaches on Sunday.
People were seen heading to stores in parts of the country including Edinburgh, Swansea and York on Sunday as latest figures showed Britons are leaving home more and more amid hopes that lockdown restrictions could be lifted.
Data from Apple Maps showed that driving is up 4 per cent and walking has increased 5 per cent among Britons compared to last week.
The shoppers on Sunday were taking advantage of hot an dry conditions which has brought sunshine around the country this weekend, although wet weather is on the way.
Hundreds of people also enjoyed the sun in beaches and parks across the country, with people pictured being told by police to move on in Greenwich Park, Richmond Park and St James’s Park in London.
It comes as bakers Greggs said they are planning to open a small number of stores after fast food chain McDonald’s announced they wish to re-open in May and KFC and Burger King already opened a handful of branches.
But forecasters have warned that this week will put a soggy stop to the fine weather with temperatures plunging by up to 7C (13F) and rain sweeping in. A dose of the more traditional April showers will arrive today – with persistent rain and falling temperatures hitting most of the country this week.
Rain today and tomorrow will be widespread. Temperatures are predicted to plunge overnight tonight, with highs in the north of England expected to be just 1C (34F). The mercury hit 22C (72F) in parts of the South yesterday, but will dive by 7C to a high of 15C (59F) in the same region tomorrow.
Thousands of Britons ignored repeated warnings to stay home as part of ongoing efforts to clamp down on coronavirus by heading to DIY stores, parks and beaches on Sunday. Pictured: People walked along the seafront in Bournemouth
People seeking the sun were also seen on Brighton’s beaches as police officers told people to go home if they weren’t out for essential exercise
Shoppers were pictured carrying items including plant pots, buckets and even a lawn mower at one B&Q store in York
Police speak to sunbathers as they patrol Greenwich Park in London this afternoon. Under guidelines, you are only supposed to leave your home for exercise
Queues formed outside B&Q in Watford after the store put in place social distancing measures
On Sunday, some DIY shoppers pushed trolleys filled with rolls of carpet while others were seen lifting enormous products into their cars.
Many had to wait in enormous queues as B&Q enforced social distancing rules.
Some wore masks and made sure they kept apart from others so as not to risk spreading coronavirus.
In Greenwich Park, officers drove up to people sunbathing to remind them of rules ordering people to stay home except for essential exercise, to buy food or to go to a place of work if they cannot work from home.
Sunbathers on the beach at the seaside resort of West Bay in Dorset, enjoying a sunny day during the lockdown this afternoon
Members of the public go out to enjoy the warm weather in Richmond Park, London today, with the park looking extremely busy
This family looked to be enjoying the sun in Green Park, London this afternoon despite the lockdown rules still in place
Cyclists stop for a chat on the pier at the seaside resort of West Bay in Dorset on a warm, sunny day during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown
Elsewhere, cyclists and walkers flocked along pavements and beach fronts as the sun came out.
Ten people from London who travelled 245 miles to go walking in North Wales were sent home and reported by police for breaking lockdown rules.
The group, travelling in two separate vehicles, had travelled the five-hour journey from the capital earlier on Sunday but they were stopped by police near their destination on the A5 in Bethesda.
They told officers they were intending to go walking in Snowdonia, the mountainous National Park in North Wales.
Instead, officers from North Wales Police, who tweeted brief details of the incident, reported them for breaching lockdown laws.
They were then ordered to go home immediately, police escorting their cars to the A-road back to the south to begin the 10-hour round-trip home.
In a second incident dealt with by police, staff from a hotel challenged a man from Cumbria seen returning to his car after he had walked up Mount Snowdon.
He was abusive when challenged, claiming the regulations did not apply to him.
Two men were also spoken to by police in Greenwich Park, London this afternoon, as sun-seekers flocked to parks up and down the country despite lockdown rules
Members of the public also enjoyed the warm weather on Putney Embankment in South West London
In Portrush, Northern Ireland, a young family brought their bikes out to amble along the wet sand at the beach
A joint Cheshire and North Wales armed police unit traced his car and stopped him on the A55 where he was reported for also breaching the lockdown regulations.
Meanwhile, in Bridgend officers responded to reports of a house party in Coity. Police said five of the six occupants were found not to be part of the household – with three coming from Berkshire.
Officers in Merthyr Tydfil found a couple who had travelled nearly 150 miles from Leicester to pick up a rug.
In the Brecon Beacons, police stopped people who had driven from Birmingham and Hereford, and two hikers from Bristol who were attempting to walk Pen Y Fan were issued with fixed penalty notices by police.
In Pembrokeshire, a driver on a 60-mile round trip to buy tomato plants was reported for non-essential travel.
While another driver was stopped at Begelly and issued with a ticket as they were ‘looking to get a coffee’. Police said it was not the first time this motorist had been reported.
In Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, police found an Airbnb open with a couple from Slough staying there and a hand car wash in operation.
In Richmond Park, a police officer on a bicycle spoke to a mother and daughter as they sat under a tree, despite orders from the Government for people to only use parks for exercise once a day
Sun seekers also headed to the seaside resort of West Bay in Dorset to walk beneath rocky cliffs with their dogs
Good day for a walk: Dog owners took their pets for an amble along Dorset’s coastline
Two people who had travelled from Birmingham for a ‘day out’ to Broadway Tower in the Cotswolds were issued with fixed penalty notices.
While in nearby Bibury, officers issued nine tickets to people visiting from Leicester and London.
Latest figures released by Public Health England on Sunday showed that another 413 people have died from the virus – the lowest figure this month.
It means that just over 20,000 people have died since the outbreak began and there have been more than 148,000 cases overall.
But data from Apple Maps showed that traffic congestion has surged from the start of the month and since the lockdown was announced.
Walking in London has picked up markedly in the last three days alone, according to Apple Map’s most recent ‘Covid-19 mobility trends’ data.
Shoppers ignored repeated warnings to stay home as part of ongoing efforts to clamp down on coronavirus by heading to DIY stores
Dozens of others were seen in long queues as they held trolleys while waiting to go in a B&Q store in Swansea
Latest figures collected on Friday showed that driving is up 4 per cent and walking has increased 5 per cent among Britons compared to last week
Cyclists took to the pavements on Putney Embankment to take advantage of the good weather before rain falls next week
People were also seen sunbathing in St James’s Park amid unseasonably warm weather
Some at DIY stores pushed trolleys filled with rolls of carpet while others were seen lifting enormous products into their cars. Pictured: One shopper at B&Q in York
Shoppers were willing to risk catching coronavirus from others as they took the chance to do some DIY. Pictured: A B&Q store in Edinburgh
People also flocked to this B&Q store in Watford on Sunday
Shops and businesses are desperate to reopen
The lockdown appears to be unravelling as shops prepare to reopen with strict social distancing rules.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published measures it believes will allow members to trade safely.
The tourism industry is also working on proposals that will maintain social distancing rules while allowing some hotels, theme parks and attractions to relaunch.
DIY chains such as B&Q, Homebase and Wickes have seen long queues after opening many outlets.
Burger King, KFC and Pret a Manger have begun a phased reopening and McDonald’s is rumoured to be following suit in the next few weeks.
Many small independent cafes and coffee shops have opened to launch takeaway services. Timpson, the key cutting and shoe repair specialists, is opening some stores with strict hygiene and social distancing.
And the budget airline Wizz Air is to restart some flights from Luton Airport on Friday, becoming one of the first European carriers to begin restoring services.
The BRC has worked with shopworkers’ union Usdaw to produce guidance on how non-food stores can open. Measures include limiting the number of people allowed in, maintaining distance between shoppers, regular cleaning of baskets and till points, and a request to avoid cash. Changing rooms would be closed.
It appears there has been a sharp increase in human traffic as the number of people walking across the country rose by around 8 percentage points on April 23 from last Saturday.
The number of people walking, driving, and using public transport networks in the UK took a nosedive in early March, as concern about the spreading coronavirus outside of China – believed to be the country of its origin – intensified and gripped the nation. It plummeted on March 24 – the day after Boris Johnson declared a ‘stay-at-home’ order.
But newly released figures available on Apple Maps indicated the British public are growing restless of life under lockdown as many more take to the roads and the streets.
What are you doing here? A police officer stood with his bike as he spoke to a couple in Richmond Park on Sunday
The officer patrolled around grassy areas speaking to couples who seemed to be out for more than just exercise
The famous sandstone cliffs in West Bay in Dorset were largely deserted, but some walkers still took advantage of the beautiful weather
Mother and daughter Anastassopoulous, 55, and Georgina, 20, were also out as they continued walking the route of the London Marathon
Londoners in Green Park also enjoyed the sun. Seven people were pictured sitting near each other as a runner jogged past
Crowded: A queue formed to buy ice cream in Battersea, South West London, as people sought to make the most of the good weather
The shoppers at B&Q have taken no notice of please from politicians for them to stay home
They were seen in snaking queues at B&Q in Edinburgh, pictured above
Each weekend of April – between the 4th and the 18th – the number of people walking, driving, and ‘transiting’ steadily climbed, even as police forces across the country became tougher on rule-breakers.
Data from sat nav makers TomTom and the AA suggest there has been an increase in car trips around the UK this month.
Britain to be hit with weeks of rain from today as heatwave ends suddenly
Britain is facing a deluge of wet weather starting today as this week’s mini-heatwave – which saw many Britons flout the countrywide lockdown – comes to an abrupt end.
Forecaster say today will see cloudy skies and a risk of showers ‘breaking out almost anywhere’ and a likely high temperature of 73F (23C), dropping to 68F (20C) tomorrow and between 53-59F (12-15C) starting Tuesday.
More typical April weather will resume next week, with wet weather and much lower temperatures presenting a ‘marked change’ from the sunshine Britons have enjoyed in recent days, Met Office meteorologist Tom Morgan told MailOnline.
This weekend – the country’s fifth since lockdown started – saw hot, dry conditions encouraging housebound Britons to flout restrictions and enjoy the sunshine.
But the temptation to leave home will be considerably lower for many in the days to come, as bands of rain brought by the Atlantic lead to ‘cooler’ and more ‘unsettled’ weather.
A Met Office spokesperson said: ‘So far April has been a largely dry month. However, today we’ll have showers across parts of Scotland, then north and central England, Wales and possibly Northern Ireland.’
Meteorologist Marco Petagna said that ‘it might be welcome rain for some, after it’s been so dry’, but there would still be ‘some sunshine, even when things are unsettled’.
There are more motorists in London, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Manchester, and Reading out and about this weekend than last week, according to TomTom.
B&Q is following steps taken by supermarkets by limiting the number of customers in its stores at any one time.
It has also installed screens at checkouts and put markers on shop floors to help with social distancing.
Cafes have been told by the Government they can start re-opening for business, while McDonald’s said they are hoping to re-open in May.
Representatives from the biggest chains, including Costa, Pret a Manger and McDonalds, had asked Environment Secretary George Eustice if they were allowed to start opening up some of their branches again.
And it is understood they were told: ‘You didn’t have to shut in the first place.’
The chains explained that it had been unclear from the rules whether they were entitled to stay open. They were also worried about the safety of their staff, and about a negative reaction from the public to their continuing to trade.
On Sunday, Greggs said they will open a small number of stores to test if it can reopen all 2,050 of its UK outlets.
It temporarily closed a month ago to protect its staff and customers from coronavirus.
The Government had ordered all non-essential shops to temporarily close but those selling food, including restaurants and cafes, can still operate a takeaway service.
The DIY shopping scenes come after Home Secretary Priti Patel warned Britons it was ‘imperative’ that they follow lockdown rules.
She warned that the country is ‘not out of danger yet’ as she thanked people for their ‘spirit of national unity’.
Police have already issued thousands of fines to people who have flouted lockdown rules, and the penalties could be increased after Ms Patel spoke on Friday to the National Police Chief’s Council.
On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab blasted ‘irresponsible’ critics for demanding the UK government set out how it will ease the nation’s coronavirus lockdown.
Tory donors, Cabinet ministers and Sir Keir Starmer have all told Boris Johnson he must publish his strategy for loosening restrictions as the Prime Minister prepares to return to work tomorrow.
Shoppers filled trolleys with varying DIY items. One man, pictured above, pushed dozens of wooden planks to his car
The shoppers had to keep their distance from each other as they queued to get into B&Q in Edinburgh
The Government issued new laws ordering people to stay at home and to only leave for exercise, to buy food, or to go to work, if they cannot work from home. Pictured: A shopper in York
Basket of goods: Shoppers pushed huge trolleys to put their DIY goods in
Shoppers left their homes to take advantage of less busy stores amid the coronavirus lockdown. Pictured: Shoppers in Edinburgh
Some people wore protective clothing, including one couple who were wearing blue rubber gloves as they pulled a trolley holding various DIY items, as well as a potted plant
But Mr Raab slapped down those calls this morning as he said Britain is still at a ‘delicate and dangerous’ stage of the outbreak and the focus must remain on slowing the spread of the disease and reducing the number of deaths.
However, the Foreign Secretary, who has been standing in for Mr Johnson, did insist ministers are carrying out their ‘homework’ on how to lift rules in the future but he stressed ‘frankly it is not responsible to start speculating about the individual measures’.
Mr Johnson has been recuperating at Chequers since he was released from hospital on April 12 after his own intensive care battle with coronavirus but he has told allies he is now ‘raring to go’.
The PM will formally return to the frontline amid growing hostility over the government’s repeated refusal to publicly discuss how restrictions will be lifted.
Many shoppers may have taken the chance to use enforced periods of isolation to spruce up their homes
Numerous Tory donors, including billionaires Peter Hargreaves and Michael Spencer, have today broken cover to tell the PM that the draconian measures must be loosened as soon as possible due to growing fears of lasting damage to the UK economy.
Three Cabinet ministers have briefed their own disquiet with some concerned that the British public have now had enough of the restrictions and cannot ‘take much more of this’.
Meanwhile, Sir Keir, the Labour leader, has warned the premier the UK risks ‘falling behind the rest of the world’ in terms of setting out how life will be returned to something resembling normal.
Economists have also warned that a failure to get out of lockdown soon could result in Britain being the Western nation hardest hit by the virus.
People also enjoyed the sunshine in St James’s Park in London. Official rules say people should only be out for essential exercise once a day, to buy food or to go to work if they cannot work from home
A policewoman was seen talking to a couple sitting on the grass in St James’s Park on Sunday
It came as lonely joggers also took to the streets in Britain’s capital city this morning on the day of what would have been the London Marathon, while other would-be entrants have taken up other challenges to raise money for charity.
The annual 26-mile run was postponed until October due to the coronavirus crisis but that did not stop runners heading out this morning.
They were pictured in colourful tracksuits as they jogged across Tower Bridge and down the Mall, both of which are ordinarily part of the iconic marathon’s route.
Whilst some were in pairs, many kept up social distancing guidelines by jogging alone and keeping their minds occupied with music played through headphones.
Today’s lower death figures may indicate that Britain’s lockdown is working, although many could not resist the chance to get outside in the nice weather
Cyclist also enjoyed largely car-free roads in central London as some pedalled down The Mall near Buckingham Palace
Londoners also enjoyed the sun in Green Park, where they sat on the grass next to bicycles
However, for those unable to take to the streets, many people have joined in with the charity sector’s 2.6 Challenge initiative – which encourages people to take part in activities based around the numbers 2.6 or 26.
The initiative is an attempt to replace the millions of pounds-worth of donations which charities would have received from events such as the London Marathon which have been postponed or cancelled.
Nearly £4million has been raised so far, with celebrities including presenter Jake Humphreys – who is raising money for children and young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent -, Stephen Fry and cyclist Chris Froome all pledging to take part.
Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, said the latest government statistics showed there had been a ‘slight uptick’ in the number of people using their cars and going outside in recent days.
He told the daily Downing Street coronavirus press conference that the nation needed to ‘remind ourselves that this has been a really tough four weeks and we don’t want to lose the benefits’ which have resulted from people staying at home.
Mr Powis said nobody could be ‘absolutely confident’ that the UK is now firmly on a downward trajectory as he urged Britons to continue to adhere to draconian lockdown measures.
The 413 deaths recorded today represents a significant drop on yesterday’s UK figures – and are also lower than previous Sundays, which typically see a lower toll than weekdays.
Police were photographed approaching people sunbathing to remind them of the rules saying that people should only be out for essential exercise, to buy food or to go to a place of work if they cannot work from home
An officer drove up to a woman sitting on the grass in a bikini top in Greenwich Park in London