"Come to the seaside – but not yet"

May 14th 2020

That is the message being issued this weekend by North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale (Margate and Herne Bay).

Speaking from his `isolation office` the veteran MP has said:

“I have spent thirty-seven years in Parliament promoting the joys of Margate and Herne Bay in my constituency and it breaks my heart to have to say, for the moment, “Please don`t come to the seaside: we`re still shut”. I have dozens of small businesses facing huge losses and wanting desperately to open up and start earning a living again but if we take the shutters down too soon we could lose an entire season for the sake of another few weeks.

Last bank holiday weekend saw hundreds of people, even before the Prime Minister had spoken on Sunday, driving down to Herne Bay and to Margate from London. I am told that `social distancing` went out of the window and the car parks were heaving. I am really concerned that some of the London media has been actively encouraging people to head for the coast again this weekend and I think that is irresponsible.

I believe that the “drive to wherever you want to take exercise” advice from the Government is premature and possibly sheer folly. I want the seaside towns that I represent to be able to welcome people with open arms again – as we have always done in the past – but we need to take baby steps towards re-opening, not a leap in the dark. Get this wrong and we could be worse than right back when we started. Get it right and we could be back in business in time for the real summer holidays.”