Visitors and residents in North Devon have been urged to follow the rules on social distancing with the stark warning that coronavirus has not gone away.

Tourists enjoy the beach at Combe Martin on July 30, 2020. Picture: Tony GussinTourists enjoy the beach at Combe Martin on July 30, 2020. Picture: Tony Gussin

Social media has been filled with pictures and comments about busy tourist resorts thronged with people, while the roads to popular tourist beaches have seen huge tail backs.

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby has called on people to obey the two metre social distancing rules following a visit to the harbour area of Ilfracombe in response to a request from residents concerned at the throngs of people in areas such as the Quay.

She said she shared their concerns and had been in contact with local councils, with further measures now being implemented in the area to improve the situation.

Ms Saxby said: “I recognise most residents, visitors and businesses have been doing the right thing and are following the guidance at this difficult time.

The roads in and around Woolacombe were very busy during the hot weather on July 30. Picture: Mark TollafieldThe roads in and around Woolacombe were very busy during the hot weather on July 30. Picture: Mark Tollafield

“However as reiterated by the Prime Minister slowing our lockdown, the coronavirus is still with us. We need to all be vigilant. Keep washing our hands, keep socially distant and wear face coverings if unable to be two metres apart or in confined spaces.

“I recognise in tourist hotspots there are a lot of people at this time enjoying our beautiful coasts particularly.

“I urge everyone to follow social distancing, be patient if you need to queue and not to encroach on others, extended personal space.”

The recent hot weather has seen beaches such as Woolacombe packed with people, although some of those who posted on social media said social distancing was being observed.

Holidaymakers on Wildersmouth Beach in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony GussinHolidaymakers on Wildersmouth Beach in Ilfracombe. Picture: Tony Gussin

The weather also brought a deluge of visitors to the beach, with traffic at Braunton backed up to Chivenor and the road to Saunton seeing cars queuing as far back as Lobb.

The current Covid-19 restrictions and advice say people should maintain a two metre social distance from others not of their household or ‘bubble’, wear face coverings inside shops, takeaways, public transport and other enclosed public spaces, and regularly wash hands or use hand sanitiser.

Ms Saxby said: “North Devon has been spared the worst of the pandemic to date, but this will only remain the case if we all continue to follow the guidelines and gently encourage others to do the same.

“The rate of infection is now rising across England and we all need to do our part to halt the virus in its tracks again.”