Pictures on social media of busy streets in the Peak District have prompted a warning from police for people not to break lockdown restrictions.
Derbyshire Police have warned the public they are only supposed to travel for essential purposes after people were found to have travelled from outside the county to visit Matlock over the weekend.
People are only supposed to travel a maximum of five miles from home.
Eight fixed penalty notices were issued to visitors who were found to be breaching COVID legislation.
Some of the visitors had travelled there in cars with people who are not in their household or social bubble, breaking restrictions on social contact.
Matlock Police Sergeant Daniel Brooks said: “We are still in lockdown and we all have a responsibility to adhere to the rules in order to bring infection rates down and save lives.”
Residents also tweeted their anger at the influx of visitors in Matlock and nearby towns:
I live in Matlock Bath, but stay home at weekends. The car park was full and the continuous noise of motorbikes meant no peaceful Sunday afternoon sitting outside.
— Brenda Clarkson (@BrendaClarkson2) February 28, 2021
It was the same at Ladybower and Fairholmes. Too many vehicles and far too many people.
Lockdown!! What Lockdown??
— Jane Plummer (@JanePlummer18) March 1, 2021
Heading into spring, there are concerns that people will flock to local hotspots in the Peak District, such as Ladybower Reservoir, to improve both their physical and mental health.
This weekend, visitors were turned away from beaches and car parks were closed across the country in a bid to enforce COVID-19 rules.
Elena Baeza Ruso, a Sheffield University student, said: “It’s important to stay indoors because of the virus, but it’s also really important to go outside for your mental health.
“Ladybower Reservoir is one of the places you can go to clear your head, and is safe because it is an open space.”
During summer 2020, news reports of packed beaches in places such as Brighton caused fears of further outbreaks of Coronavirus.
However, Professor Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, told the Government’s Science and Technology Committee: “There were no outbreaks linked to crowded beaches, there’s never been a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a beach ever anywhere in the world to the best of my knowledge.”
Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, a Royal Academy of Engineering professor at Cambridge University, supported the need for fresh air. He claimed that bringing fresh air into our homes to dilute and disperse the virus can cut the risk of infection by 70-80%.