POLLS by the Romsey Advertiser have revealed the majority of participants believe beaches should be closed if social distancing can't be observed.

This follows Health Secretary, Matt Hancock's, warning that the Government has the power to close public areas, such as beaches, if people flout safety restrictions.

His announcement comes after Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council declared a major incident after services were “completely overstretched” as huge numbers of visitors crowded onto the beaches last week.

Polls held on Facebook and Twitter, which provide a small insight into the situation, found 84 per cent of respondents supported the Government shutting beaches across the UK if sun-seekers are breaking social distancing rules.

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However, posts on the Romsey Advertiser Twitter and Facebook page asking readers to share their thoughts on the question saw some readers urging beaches to stay open.

These are some of the comments. 

One Twitter user said: "Places like Bournemouth clearly have a problem.

"Many of the beaches around the Solent, especially more than 200 metres from a car park, have no such problem and plenty of space."

Another reader said: "I don't think 'recommending', 'advising' and 'common sense' work.

"People seem to have forgotten anything happened.

"Face masks? Social distancing? What are those?"

A commenter suggested imposing harsher fines for people who are caught not socially distancing.

One person said: "It would be a shame to ruin it for those who don’t break the rules.

"Perhaps a harsher fine for people not social distancing on the beach would be a fair solution."

Another reader said: "We go to the smaller beaches like Lepe and Calshot and everyone has kept their distance.

"[It] would be a shame if that was ruined because of selfish people travelling hundreds of miles and fighting over a bit of sand."

One reader referenced how Spain is encouraging people to keep their distance from each other when visiting beaches.

They said: "I have a grandson who lives in Spain and they have put rope squares on some of the beaches so everyone has their own space."