RNLI asks government to 'restrict access' to beaches after two people die on Cornwall coastline on Bank Holiday Monday

The letter to the government comes after a weekend of tragedies on Cornwall's coastline. Credit: Constantine Bay Stores / ITV West Country

The RNLI's Chief Executive has written to the government asking to restrict access to beaches, after two people died on Cornwall's coastline.

  • Jonty speaks to the Chief Executive of the RNLI, Mark Dowie:

Despite warning the public that the roll-out of lifeguards has been paused because of the pandemic, thousands have been flocking to the region's coastal areas in recent weeks.

In the open letter, Mark Dowie said the easing of lockdown restrictions has put the charity in an "impossible situation".

He has requested the government restricts "access to the coast until we have lifeguard patrols back on beaches".

Mr Dowie's letter follows the deaths of two people in Cornwall on Bank Holiday Monday, with one other person in hospital with life-changing injuries.

Mr Dowie continued, "As a lifesaving charity, the RNLI cannot stop people going to beaches - but the government can - before more lives are lost around our coast this summer."

The charity was forced to pause the roll-out of lifeguards when the outbreak started. Credit: ITV West Country

The RNLI's lifeguard service was paused in March at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite wanting to help members of the public, the charity has explained the challenges its facing to keep lifeguards safe from contracting Covid-19.

Mr Dowie also stressed the future of the charity is at risk because of the crisis.

He said it faces a £45 million shortfall in funding by the end of the year because of the cancellation of fundraising events.

Government intervention is therefore needed, he says, to not only ensure the safety of the public, but the future of the life-saving charity.