The weather might be a bit warmer, and the lockdown restrictions might be a bit ‘looser’, but it appears some Brits have continued to stretch the rules, visiting the country’s beauty spots and putting the local’s health at risk while they do so.
After calling for people to “think carefully” before leaving this house this weekend, the popular Peak District has seen an influx of visitors as a large number of Brits take advantage of the unlimited exercise and distance rules – making social distancing increasingly difficult. Areas such as Langsett, South Yorkshire were reportedly “extremely busy” just yesterday, with car parks full and cars being left nearby in a bid to visit the area.
A previous statement distributed by the Peak District National Park read: “Govt guidance on #COVID19 has changed, but you can still help give the #PeakDistrict crucial breathing space to recover by staying local.”
In addition to the Peak District seeing an increase in visitors, despite many of their sites remaining closed, the Yorkshire Dales also reported large numbers of visitors, with their Malham car park reaching max capacity (140 bays) as early as lunchtime yesterday. The National Park has been forced to introduce a traffic light system to warn off guests, regularly reporting on the capacity of each car park in the hopes of controlling the influx of visitors.
The increase in tourist activity comes just days after the chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Force, Brian Booth, confirmed that policing the COVID-19 lockdown regulations “has become impossible” following Boris Johnson’s announcement just one week ago.
The new regulations allow members of the public to exercise outdoors as much as they’d like, with the Prime Minister encouraging people to make use of the great outdoors – even allowing people to travel as far as they’d like to participate in outdoor activity. And while the new rules are much less stringent that those that the UK saw introduced back in March, the government has made it clear that tourism of any kind is not currently permitted during the current phase of the exit strategy.
Earlier this week, Welcome To Yorkshire shared a number of messages to discourage potential visitors, with one social media statement reading: “At present we’re urging people to act responsibly & think twice about visiting Yorkshire’s tourism hotspots. Many countryside & coastal communities are not ready for a visitor influx”. Chief executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority also had his say on the less-stringent restrictions, saying: “we must remember that our battle with Covid-19 is far from won and so for now: Stay apart. Act responsibly. Save lives.”