Councillor Ben Ingham, Leader in name only (LINO) having lost his majority in EDDC, went on BBC Spotlight last night to tell visitors not to come to East Devon, or any other part of Devon, over Easter.
On 22 March a group of MPs across the region backed the call for tourists and second home owners in Devon and Cornwall to ‘Come back later’ in a bid to save the lives of those who live here during the coronavirus virus.
North Devon, whose Chief Executive took the lead a couple of weeks ago, has been more explicit and says that it is “closed” to visitors.
But only on 3 April were they joined by Devon County Council
Devon backs calls for visitors to stay home and stay safe:
Devon County Council is backing the call from across the South West for visitors not to be tempted to visit the region at this time.
In the run up to the Easter bank holiday weekend, local authorities are reminding people of the Government advice against non-essential travel, as well as ensuring holiday accommodation providers stay closed.
The County Council recognises the importance of the tourism sector for Devon but it is urging people to stay at home, stay safe and wait until Covid-19 restrictions are lifted before paying a visit to the county.
Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, holiday rentals, campsites and caravan parks are among the businesses forced to close under Government guidelines to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Among the exceptions are where:
- People who live permanently in caravan parks or are living in holiday accommodation temporarily because their main residence is unavailable;
- Critical workers and non-UK residents who are unable to travel to their country of residence during this period can stay in hotels or similar;
- People who are unable to move into a new home, due to the current restrictions, can stay in hotels;
- Where hotels, hostels and B&Bs are supporting homeless and other vulnerable people, such as those who cannot safely stay in their home, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies.
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “The partial lock-down implemented by the Government is for everybody’s benefit as the country battles to bring the coronavirus under control. We all need to play our part to protect each other and do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus, and we would hope that everyone obeys the national guidance.
“Tourism is an important part of Devon’s economy and tourism businesses and accommodation providers will be suffering, just as many sectors are during this crisis. If we all take the Government advice on board to stay at home and only make essential journeys, the sooner we will get through this crisis and get Devon open for business, so that people can pay us a visit at a later date.”
Police and Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards have powers to investigate any holiday accommodation that might be flouting the current Government guidelines.
Local people using Devon’s Public Rights of Way and recreational trails as part of their daily exercise are also being urged to follow Government guidance while outside.
Notices on some of Devon’s public rights of way are reminding people to keep a 2-metre distance with a maximum of two in a group from the same household. Dog walkers are also asked to keep dogs under close control and to keep to the line of the path.