Tourists urged to avoid UK holiday hotspots during Covid-19 pandemic

21 March 2020, 20:37

People are advised not to travel
People are advised not to travel. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Would-be tourists are being urged to keep away from beaches and other holiday destinations in the UK to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Cumbria Police said despite Government advice to avoid non-essential travel, the Lake District and other tourist hotspots in the UK were experiencing an "influx" of visitors.

The force has now urged people from outside its county to keep away, stating that the Lake District is "no longer conducting business as usual", with pubs, restaurants and attractions advised to close.

It comes as West Wittering Beach in Chichester, south-east England, closed to the public after the number of visitors on Saturday "far exceeded" expectations, the estate owners said.

Meanwhile, the Visit Cornwall tourist board published a statement on Friday asking people to postpone their visits to a later date "despite the lack of clarity from Government" around the situation.

In a statement on Saturday, Cumbria Police's assistant chief constable Andrew Slattery said: "Whilst we are looking at all measures to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, I must urge people living outside the county not to visit.

"A national emergency shut-down of businesses and schools is not an excuse for a holiday.

"Cumbria County Council yesterday urged people to stay at home as far as possible to protect out NHS and save lives. I reiterate that advice and it is important that we all follow it."

In a statement, Mr Slattery said public services within the county, located in north-west England, are resourced to serve its population of 500,000 and will be "stretched to breaking point" by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Large numbers of visitors will only place an additional burden on these hard-pushed professionals," he added.

"These are unprecedented times and our first priority is the protection of life. People's lives must come first."

Elsewhere, the West Wittering Estate posted a message on its website to say its beach and car park would be closed as remaining open had "encouraged an unacceptable movement of people" into the local community.

"We understand that the restrictions imposed by the government make us an attractive option for exercise, dog walking, and socialising, but we cannot in good conscience remain open to the public," it said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs and restaurants across the country to close in a bid to impact the infection rate by reducing "unnecessary" social gatherings by 75%.

In a statement, the Visit Cornwall website posted: "Despite the lack of clarity from the Government, Visit Cornwall is advising that visitors should not come to Cornwall at this time."