Coronavirus: People slammed as 'insensitive' and 'arrogant' for ignoring social distancing pleas

People queueing up in Howth, Ireland on Sunday March 22nd.
People queueing up in Howth, Ireland on Sunday March 22nd. Copyright Credit: David Walsh
By Seana Davis
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Some people are still heading to popular tourist locations despite calls for social distancing.


Authorities across Europe have been calling on citizens to adhere to social distancing as COVID-19 cases continue to soar.

Neither the UK nor the Republic of Ireland has reached a status of full lockdown. Parks and playgrounds remained open over the weekend, sparking concern among some about a lack of social distancing.

The Dublin Fire Brigade were among those who took to social media showing roads packed with cars north of the capital, calling on people to "find somewhere else to go" adding that the virus is spread through person-to-person contact.

Glendalough National Park in Wicklow, Ireland, was closed on Sunday until further notice due to social distancing concerns while Banna Beach in County Kerry was also cleared by authorities.

Irish police have asked people to avoid popular destinations. "We ask people and families to be responsible, not to attend popular locations and where the numbers of persons starts to increase at any location to leave such areas," they said in a statement.

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, fresh calls have surfaced for stricter social distancing guidelines as people took to national parks in Snowdonia National Park in Wales and elsewhere.

In a statement to Euronews, the Snowdonia National Park Authority (NPA) hailed it "the busiest visitor weekend in living memory" while calling on the UK government to "tighten measures and guidance to ensure that people are not travelling to the countryside to self-isolate".

"The crowds we saw on Snowdon and around key sites in Snowdonia over the weekend were alarming as it became evident people were not heeding the government’s advice to avoid non-essential journeys and to maintain safe social distancing, therefore we must act quickly to ensure that this issue is addressed," Chief Executive of the Snowdonia NPA told Euronews, confirming that they are closing their car parking facilities.

The Cumbria police took to Twitter urging people to avoid non-essential travel, saying that "despite the government health warnings, people have still travelled in numbers to the Lake District".

"A national emergency is not an excuse for a public holiday," their statement added.

Some lines on the London Underground have also remained busy despite the city's mayor, Sadiq Khan, urging people not to travel unless it is essential.

In the Netherlands, police in Zandvoort stated that crowds were still taking walks along the beach despite directives otherwise.

Authorities have been urging communities to "avoid crowded areas" and have closed beaches in both Zandvoort and Bloemendaal saying that they will "send holidaymakers back".

"When beaches fill up, it is difficult to maintain a safe distance," authorities said in a statement.

Further afield in New York City, the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak in the United States, Prospect Park and other places in the city remained busy over the weekend.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo commented on clusters taking to parks: "It’s insensitive, it’s arrogant, it’s self-destructive, it’s disrespectful to other people and it has to stop".

How have some nations been enforcing social distancing rules?

Police in Brussels have been using drones to ensure social distancing is being adhered to in parks. On Twitter, police in the capital city confirmed that they were "carrying out surveillance" across green spaces throughout the city while broadcasting a "trilingual message" through a speaker phone to remind those on the ground to respect health measures in place.

Police in Germany have been using helicopters to monitor social distancing along coast lines.


"The excellent weather is a real temptation for tourists and other visitors," Andrea Papenroth, spokesperson for Wilhelmshaven and Friesland police said in a statement.

"However, there is still a strict requirement to do everything possible to slow down the spread of the Corona virus, so the helicopter with its 'bird's eye view' offers a very good opportunity to get an overall impression".

Police in France have been patrolling on bike, cars, horseback and on motorbikes to check whether citizens have the correct documentation to leave their homes.

Speaking previously with Euronews, Doctor and Radio Presenter, Dr Ciara Kelly, warned against lax social distancing.

"It's not easy for all of us to stay home alone - it's quite challenging. But it is our only defence against a virus that we have no immunity to, that we have no cure for and we have no vaccine for," she said.

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