A beach BBQ for G7 leaders in Cornwall was “entirely COVID secure” and stuck to the current rules on outdoor gatherings being no larger than 30 people, Number 10 has said.
World leaders attending the summit in Carbis Bay gathered on Saturday night on the sands of the seaside resort.
Downing Street said the “relaxed atmosphere” gave the leaders – including US President Joe Biden – the chance to discuss global issues outside the formal sessions of the summit.
However, after pictures were shared of the event, some had speculated as to whether the gathering breached England’s current social distancing rules – and ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s expected delay to the final stage of his roadmap for lifting restrictions.
Asked about images of world leaders “crowded together” on the beach, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “The event last night was done in an entirely COVID secure way and within the existing rules.
“I’ve set out before the very stringent approach we’ve been taking to ensure we are COVID secure at the summit, including daily testing.”
Pressed on whether the event stuck to COVID rules, the spokesman added: “The numbers were below 30 at the BBQ yesterday.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News there had “always been different principles for social entertainment and weddings than for government business” and that bringing world leaders together in Cornwall had been “a serious business”.
He said: “To bring back the economy stronger, greener, to deal with the pandemic, shift the point at which the whole world is vaccinated from 2024 to the middle of next year – that is serious business they are engaged in and not just the leisure activities on the beach.”
The beach BBQ was cooked by chef Simon Stallard from the Hidden Hut in Portscatho, with canapes including scallops, Curgurrell crab claws and Portscatho mackerel.
The main course was seared and smokey Moorland sirloin, Newlyn lobster and scorched leeks served with sides of layered Cornish potato chips, St Just purple sprout broccoli and salt baked beetroot.
A dessert of beach hut sundaes was then followed by baked brie, hot buttered rum and toasted marshmallows around fire pits on the beach.
During the beach event, world leaders also witnessed a flypast by the Red Arrows.
Critics questioned the display by nine aerobatic jet aircraft amid the summit’s focus on climate change.
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