The pressures to open the West Country’s beaches

“Now is not the time for complacency and we must all continue to adhere to the advice which includes social distancing and only making essential journeys outside of our homes.”

.

At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, tourists were being urged to stay away:

#ComeBackLater to the South West

Restricting freedom of movement in/to Devon

.

And so they did:

Coronavirus lockdown is working as beaches deserted at Easter | express.co.uk

.

But now that it’s getting very clear that a lot of West Country businesses are facing bankruptcy, there are now calls to open up sooner than later:

.

Cornwall tourism: 8 in 10 businesses could go bust unless lockdown lifted by July – expert

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, said if the nationwide lockdown is not lifted by summer many employers in the county will have reached the point of no return. During and around the Easter holidays the population of Cornwall usually jumps by about a third due to tourism.

Locals in the south-west county have been pushing the #ComeBackLater campaign urging non-residents to stay away until the COVID-19 outbreak is under control. There has been anger towards Britons with second homes in the picturesque county who have retreated from cities at the risk of spreading the virus to locals.

Cornwall tourism: 8 in 10 businesses could go bust unless lockdown lifted by July – expert | express.co.uk

.

The problem is that people are not staying away:

.

Coronavirus lockdown: Devon’s beaches are already busy, whatever Boris Johnson says

More people on the beaches than during Easter, convertible cruisers, twitchers and mid-life crisis super bike riders are back

The lockdown, as we know it, is over, whether Boris Johnson tells us it is or not on Sunday.

While life is by no means back to normal here in Devon, locals are hitting the roads and beaches in far greater numbers than on Good Friday, four long weeks ago. The same beaches I visited over Easter were deserted. On Friday, while by no means full, it was clear some locals, almost seven weeks after we were all told to stay at home, were going to enjoy themselves whatever they thought they had been told in the past few days.

In Exmouth, where there had been a handful of people exercising their dogs on the two-mile stretch of sand and a dozen or so people running or cycling along the sea front, there were hundreds. Many had driven and parked up to breathe in the sea air and enjoy the 20-degree sunshine. It was not the vast numbers the town expects on a warm bank holiday weekend, but it was as close to “usual” as I have seen in my local town since lockdown.

People were socially distancing, but they evidently felt there was nothing wrong with making sandcastles with the kids or having a paddle.

Some believed Mr Johnson had given them permission to enjoy the outdoors more. Others were confused as they had read in today’s papers that the lockdown was not going to be eased significantly…

Coronavirus lockdown: Devon’s beaches are already busy, whatever Boris Johnson says | inews.co.uk

.

Scenes are returning to pretty much “usual” for this time of year – as in this early summer photo from 2009:

.

.

Exmouth Beach © David Dixon cc-by-sa/2.0 :: Geograph Britain and …

.

But it’s really not a good idea, as reported in today’s media:

.

Devon and Cornwall Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew said: “To those thinking about travelling to the South West for holiday or social purposes, please come back later. Now is not the time for complacency and we must all continue to adhere to the advice which includes social distancing and only making essential journeys outside of our homes.”

Coronavirus: Bank holiday warning to avoid beauty spots | bbc.co.uk

.

And the authorities are having a hard time:

‘We’re fighting a losing battle’: Hackney police admit defeat as sun-worshippers pack out parks and beaches on ‘hottest day of the year so far’ on last weekend of full lockdown | dailymail.co.uk

‘LOSING BATTLE’ Frustrated police admit they can’t stop people packing out parks and beaches during lockdown | thesun.co.uk

   
© Vision Group for Sidmouth 2005-2022