Lifeguards will not be patrolling North Devon beaches this Easter due to coronavirus.

The RNLI announced it was pausing the rollout of lifeguard patrols onto beaches to ensure lifeguards adhere to the Government’s guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The lifeguard service was due to start at Croyde and Woolacombe on Friday, March 28, before starting at Westward Ho! and Sandymere in the coming months.

Its lifeboat stations remain on service.

The statement from the RNLI said: “Lifeguards work and train in groups, which makes keeping the requirement to remain two metres apart difficult and the nature of their work with the public puts them – and beach visitors – at risk of close contact.

“Also, their usual activity includes encouraging people to visit patrolled beaches and swim in certain areas – this activity would go against the Government’s clear instruction for people to stay at home, maintain social distancing and not congregate in groups.

“We hope that once the current situation changes, and government guidance allows, we will be able to re-establish the lifeguard service and employ those lifeguards onto the beaches but it is too early to know when that might be.”