Stay away from Devon & Cornwall for now, please

Councillors from Devon’s local authorities have joined with Cornwall Council calling for people not to visit Devon and Cornwall this Easter.
In the run up to the Easter Bank Holiday this weekend, local authorities are reminding people of the Government advice against non-essential travel. In a similar call an open letter is also being distributed, asking second home owners, not to visit their second homes this Easter.

All Councils recognise the value and contribution tourists make to the area and the local economy, but everybody is being encouraged to stay in their primary place of residence this weekend, to protect everyone from the further spread of COVID-19.  Why?

1 Many Councils in the South West have a high proportion of vulnerable and elderly residents and travel will inevitably put these groups at increased risk.

2. Councils are also concerned of the extra pressure ever more people will place on local resources, which are already stretched helping the local permanent population and dealing with issues caused by the crisis.

3. Government guidance is now very clear, and people have been advised that they must only leave their home for very specific reasons – to go outside for food, health reasons and work, and only then if they cannot work from home. They should also only travel where absolutely necessary. It is now an offence under Regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, to leave the place where you are living without a reasonable excuse.

4.Travelling to a holiday destination or second home has not been deemed to be a reasonable excuse.

5. All Councils have assigned resources to investigate reports of second or holiday home occupation and are determined to prevent the spread of the virus by sharing any knowledge with the police. However the hope is that people will continue to support the residents of Torridge by doing the right thing and staying away.

In a conciliatory note the Councils hope for people’s understanding for their current stance and look forward to welcoming tourists and second home owners when the situation returns to normal and when the government and NHS advise it is safe to do so.

Councillor Ken James – Leader of Torridge District Council said:

“The Government and the NHS have made it clear that people should no longer be travelling or moving around the UK unnecessarily and have introduced powers for the police to stop and fine people. While we remain proud of what our fantastic coastline has to offer we want people to be sensible by staying away and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others and themselves.

Tourists and second home owners will need to understand that for the time being their presence will not be welcome until the crisis subsides and the government and NHS lift restrictions. We will be providing assistance to the police to investigate anyone flouting this guidance and who risk compromising the health of the vulnerable people in our locality. Stay home stay safe.”

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