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Bank Holiday weekend travellers urged to stay away from beauty spots

UK News | Published:

The Norfolk Coast Partnership has sent out a plea to the public to stay away from its coastline so the area is not ‘overwhelmed’.

Coronavirus – Thu May 21, 2020

People are being urged to stay away from Britain’s beauty spots this Bank Holiday weekend despite the slight easing of lockdown measures.

Tourist bodies and residents of coastal towns are fearing an influx of frustrated families seizing the chance to make the most of the more lenient measures after weeks of being stuck indoors.

The Norfolk Coast Partnership has sent out a plea to the public to stay away from its coastline for the moment so the area is not “overwhelmed”.

Spring weather May 21st 2020
People enjoy the hot weather on the beach in Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Dorset Council and the Visit Peak District & Derbyshire tourist board are telling people to “think” before travelling, to act responsibly and protect the local community.

Cumbria’s local resilience forum has sent a thank you message to holidaymakers who postponed their trips to the area after visitor numbers last weekend were “lower than anticipated”.

It said: “The message remains that the county is not quite ready for visitors to return in their usual numbers.”

Cumbria’s public health director Colin Cox said: “I continue to urge people to keep their Lake District plans on hold as we grapple with the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak in the county.

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“I understand that people may feel their individual visit won’t cause a problem, but when thousands of people have the same idea then that has the potential to create genuine issues.”

After a spell of sunny weather across much of the UK, the weather is expected to be unsettled and windy in the North with showers or longer spells of rain this weekend, according to the Met Office.

It says there will be scattered showers on Saturday in the South but it will become dry, settled and increasingly warm.

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Representatives of the New Forest National Park in Hampshire tweeted that the beauty spot is “on high fire alert!”.

It added that no BBQs or campfires are being allowed and that “rangers will be out again this weekend with other organisations to keep people & wildlife safe”.

Coastal visitors will find many car parks, public toilets and local businesses are still closed, along with many local businesses, the Norfolk Coast Partnership said.

Manager Estelle Hook said: “In many places on the coast there is not the infrastructure to support the necessary social distancing or to ensure that visitors have the facilities they would usually expect, such as car parks or toilets.”

She added that the organisations responsible for looking after the coastline want to welcome back visitors “but at the present time it is safer to stay away”.

Jo Dilley, managing director at Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “We know it’s tempting to visit the places we’ve all missed so much, but until we can give you the warm welcome we all want, we ask visitors to think carefully before travelling to the area and to stay local if possible this Bank Holiday weekend.

“Following the renewed Government guidelines, we’ve already had reports of large crowds at tourist hotspots where it was almost impossible to stay two metres apart, putting the safety of our local communities at risk.”

The RNLI issued a warning to potential beachgoers stating that its lifeguards “can’t be everywhere this summer”.

Anyone who ventures out should check the weather and tide reports, keep an eye on their families and should not use inflatables, it said.

The message was backed by Dee Cafari, the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions.

She tweeted: “Enjoy the weather but please be aware. Things are different right now so we need to act responsibly.”

Edmund King, AA president, suggested it is “not surprising” that thousands of day trippers will want to enjoy some of the best surf beaches in the UK.

He said: “Whilst understanding the frustrations of the police and locals, it is obviously difficult for individuals to know how busy an area would be until they get there.”

Calling for the rules to be clarified in order to take pressure off picturesque coastal and rural areas, he said: “Perhaps the Government should have delayed easing leisure trips until after the bank holiday to avoid this situation, but drivers should also think about how far they need to travel to enjoy the great outdoors safely.”

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