More on Local Councils telling holiday makers to stay away

This report from radioexe starts with the same report of Devon County’s response, reported by Owl yesterday, but adds further information. The post below starts from report on what Independent group leader Cllr Frank Biederman said and then continues.

Council tells holidaymakers to stay away 

Independent group leader Cllr Frank Biederman said: “We need the Government to introduce huge fines for people who flout the regulations and we really need to emphasise that we are closed. The NHS can’t care for visitors as well as our own residents.

“The vast majority of our tourism businesses are closed and are taking a big financial hit for the benefit of the community but we need to crack down on those who refuse to do so.”

He added that any business who were still allowing holidaymakers to make bookings were a ‘disgrace’.

The council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, Cllr Rufus Gilbert, said that Trading Standards had done a test with and sampled 25 per cent of businesses on their website and phoned them, and all of them said they were not accepting booking.

But he added: “With Airbnb, we have had no such assurances. We have written to them but are not expecting a reply. We will do everything that we can, but just because some businesses are advertising online, it doesn’t mean that they are taking bookings.”

Cllr Paul Crabb though said he had gone onto the Airbnb and would have been able to book a detached villa for 13 guests in Ilfracombe for next week, which showed that not everyone was obeying the rules.

The district councils have the responsibility to close down any businesses that are open illegally.

It comes as the leaders of both South Hams and West Devon councils have written an open letter pleading with second home owners not to visit this Easter.

The open letter, written by Cllr Judy Pearce and Cllr Neil Jory, has the support of Cornwall Council, East Devon District Council, Mid Devon District Council, North Devon District Council, Teignbridge District Council and Torridge District Council.

It explains that while they value their contribution they make to local communities and the tourism economy, they are pleading with them to stay away as by travelling to their second home, they are putting the local population at risk.

As of Wednesday morning, across the Devon County Council administrative area, there had only been 236 cases positive COVID-19 cases, with a further 57 in Torbay and 102 in Plymouth. In total, 53 people in Devon have died in hospitals with coronavirus.