Respect, protect, enjoy
Under national government guidance issued ahead of July 4, the hospitality and tourism sector began reopening, with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole able to welcome tourists back to our beautiful beaches once again.
To help mitigate concerns, multi-agency plans are in place to help everyone respect, protect and enjoy the beaches during their visit.
Social distancing on beaches
Social distancing is your personal responsibility and everyone should take necessary steps to follow government guidance to protect yourself, your family, and those around you. If you feel that the distance between you and other people is too close, then please move to a section of the beach that is quieter and more comfortable. If in doubt, consider coming back at another time when it is quieter.
To help remind people of the national guidance of 1m+ and to encourage responsible behaviour, we have provided banners and signage along the beaches and promenade in Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole.
Councils do not have the power to close public beaches. Police could issue temporary dispersal orders if it’s deemed absolutely necessary. As reported following the major incident on the June 25, only government intervention would result in the closure of beaches at this time.
We normally recruit our seasonal staff around the time that lockdown started, which has resulted in a delay in the recruitment process.
When restrictions were eased, we began employment and training as quickly as possible but there was an inevitable delay. This is one of the reasons why our facilities were not fully open before 4 July but we are now fully staffed.
We have also recruited security to help support staff on the beaches.
The majority of our beaches now have a lifeguard service provided by the RNLI. However, please check their website for the exact locations and patrol times of the lifeguarded beaches across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, and across the UK.
Details can be found on the RNLI website
To stay safe at the beach, always swim at a lifeguarded beach between the red and yellow flags and never swim alone.
Our beach cleansing teams operate from first light until early afternoon clearing the beach. This is by a full-time team of six, supplemented by seven seasonal staff (for Bournemouth and Poole beaches) and a contractor assisting on Christchurch beaches. At anticipated peak times, the bins for Bournemouth (the busiest beach in the area) are collected twice daily – at first light and then in the early evening. In addition, more bins are brought in to cope for busier periods.
However, waste is everyone’s responsibility, and we have seen bins overflowing while nearby bins have had space. When a bin is full, instead of leaving it, find an emptier bin. Or better still, take your rubbish home!
Volunteer litter picks
In support of our council delivered services, we now have regular supervised volunteer beach litter-picks. Thanks to the kindness of Together We Can, volunteers and everyone else who has supported efforts to keep our beaches clean. If you are interested in signing up to help, you can volunteer on the Community Action Network website.
BBQs on the beach
BBQs are permitted on the beach only after 6pm. Choose your BBQ spot carefully and remember smoke from your BBQ can cause offence to other beach users. Please consider the needs of those around you and dispose of your BBQ safely to prevent litter and possible burns to other beach users by pouring water onto the coals, not sand, and wait for it to cool for safe disposal. Do not place hot coals in any of the bins or bury them under the sand.
Our seafront rangers and overnight security patrols always ask people to put out their BBQs and dispose of them safely if they are not following the rules.
If you're concerned that a BBQ is a fire risk, please call 999.
Cycling on the seafront
During July and August no cycling is permitted on the seafront between 10am and 6pm. Please be a responsible cyclist, dismount and push your bike.
Outside of these hours, you must stay alert and follow government advice on social distancing if you cycle on seafront walkways and the promenade.
You must not cycle in groups. You must also follow the usual rules for cycling on the promenade outside of 10am-6pm, by keeping to the speed limit of 10 miles per hour, giving way to pedestrians and getting off your bike if you see a ‘no cycling’ sign.
Illegal camping on beaches
You cannot camp overnight on our beaches. Scenes of camping across the beaches witnessed before 4 July were against national rules and guidance. It is not anticipated that this will be a significant ongoing concern now that hotels, B&Bs and campsites are reopening.
Where necessary, our seafront rangers and overnight security patrols always ask people not to camp and call the police for assistance if needed.
Illegal parking near beaches
Roads generally cannot be closed without advertising 7 days in advance. The scenes of illegally parked cars on 25 & 26 June were considered exceptional due to circumstances beyond our control.
Our Civil Enforcement Officers are working every day across Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole to tackle illegal parking. We can’t raise the level of parking fines as they are set by the government, although we are actively exploring tow-away zones for fly-parked cars as a priority.
On days anticipated to be busier, we will be increasing the enforcement provision and providing Parking Marshalls at entrances to car parks.
We know where our traffic hotspots are and if necessary, will close Bath Road (Pier flyover) and divert traffic, and close Banks Road, Sandbanks (at Shore Road) allowing exiting traffic only.
Pedestrians and cyclists, residents, employees, and buses will continue to be able to access Banks Road.
All toilet facilities along the seafront are now open from 10am-7pm. Please follow the instructions provided on signage to help you keep to social distancing guidelines and wash your hands regularly. If you know you’re likely to use a public toilet when you go out, carry your own sanitiser and hand gels.
The toilets are currently being cleaned on average 3 times a day and during cleaning, toilets may be shut to allow our staff to do their job safely. Our beach cleansing team are also cleaning and disinfecting behind beach huts.
Check bcpcouncil.gov.uk/toilets for the information and latest updates on toilet facilities, including their location.
Dog walking on the beach
The usual beach dog walk restrictions are back in place. Please make sure to keep to the dog friendly zones in each area.
Your dog must be under control at all times and you must keep yourself and your dog 2 metres away (or 1+ metre where 2 metres isn’t viable) from others wherever possible.
Do not touch other people's dogs, and make sure to wash your hands before and after you handle your dog. Please clean up any mess your dog makes and put it in a bin. Our waste teams continue to empty dog waste bins so please use them.
Follow government advice on dog walking in public areas.