RESIDENTS have been praised for respecting warnings and maintaining social distancing while venturing out and about at the weekend.

It had been feared that people would descend on beaches in Dovercourt, and Manningtree, as well as those in Clacton, Frinton and Walton after the Government eased lockdown restrictions, allowing people to travel by car to exercise and to meet a relative outside, while maintaining social distancing.

Dave McLeod, Harwich Town councillor, said he is pleased how Harwich has reacted to the warnings.

He said: “I think we, as a town, are more aware of the possibility of catching the virus and we’re respecting each other’s space.

“It was quiet over the weekend, people were walking on the promenade, but keeping their distance and being respectful of each other.

“We take full notice of what we’re told to do and people took the warnings well.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to the community for keeping each other safe.”

Halstead Gazette: Councillor Dave McLeodCouncillor Dave McLeod

Carlo Guglielmi, Essex county councillor for Manningtree, Mistley and Lawford echoed Mr McLeod’s words.

He said: “We’re really lucky we’ve got very large recreational grounds where people can go to.

“On Saturday we went to the Furze Hill woods in Mistley, and although the car park was full, you couldn’t see people as they were spread out in the woods.

“There were a lot more people out and about with children and dogs, even vans with ice cream and food.

“But I didn’t really notice a huge amount of breach of social distancing.

“The waterfront will get busy, along the Walls, in Manningtree, but people have to be careful not to get too close to each other.

“I urge people to be sensible with what they do.”

Mr Guglielmi also thanked people who refrained from going to the north Essex coast despite the hot weather.

“We’d love people on our beaches, but these are unprecedented times so it’s best if people keep away,” he added.

“We’re having another long weekend ahead, and if people could refrain for a little longer, it will be beneficial for everyone in the future.”

Tendring Council has reopened its car parks as people can drive to destinations.

Council leader Neil Stock visited Clacton beach at the weekend.

He said: “I was down at the beach on Saturday and it was empty, defying the expectations.

"I have been massively impressed with people obeying the guidelines and social distancing.”