Officials In Cornwall Call For A “Controlled” Approach To Summer Tourism
Cornwall is all but ok to begin tourism given the lower numbers of Covid cases in the area. It’s not certain yet but signs are promising.
Cornwall is one of the most popular places in the UK for tourism both domestically and internationally. The coronavirus outbreak however has presented a real quagmire in being able to upkeep it’s warm welcoming reputation.
With just 485 cases and 77 deaths as of April 30th Cornwall looks set to be one of the first counties to be open for business. It could be as soon as this month if the local government can create a staggered reopening of business to ensure citizens maximum protection.
This of course opens the county up for both higher risk in regards to the pandemic and opens the gateway for a lot of criticism should their approach backfire.
One of Britains most glorious locations, Penzance TR19, UK, Cornwall, United Kingdom
“We could lift the ban on recreational boating and some art galleries could be allowed to open.”
Over 50,000 jobs in the region depend on the tourism sector with approx 5 million visitors every year.
There are no firm propositions yet put in place but three protocols are being weighed up as the possible way forward.
One of the local officials stated: “Two are bad. One is, the government imposes a longer lockdown than elsewhere, over July and August, to prevent an influx of visitors. The second, and worst, is we open in June and people flow in, the virus takes hold, and we have to shut down Cornwall for summer.
“Between those is a staggered opening. We open to locals first, perhaps allowing access to gardens, beaches and open spaces, where people can be as spaced apart and at least as safe as they are in supermarkets. Takeaways and golf courses could also perhaps be opened.
The risk assessment for businesses is being considered by Visit Cornwell.
Officials went on to say :
“Restaurants could agree to have two sittings to keep numbers down, and self-catering could be safely deliverable”.
“You could allow people to visit only if they have a confirmed booking.” This, he says, is something Devon and Cornwall police, who are involved in the discussions, would be able to check.
If Cornwall can navigate the obvious thirst for everyone to flood the streets at once and maintain a “controlled level of activity” during the peak months, then most of the Cornish businesses can start to recover financially from the inevitable blow that the virus has taken on the area.
Julian Gray, the direction of the South West Coast Path Association says that staff are already making headway and preparing themselves for an influx of visitors as soon as lockdown measures are eased.
“As restrictions start to be lifted we are expecting to see a lot of people. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the value of access to the coast and countryside to our physical health and mental wellbeing. People’s safety is our top priority and we’ll be promoting and publicising the most up-to-date guidance to ensure people stay safe.
“We will be supporting rangers, wardens and contractors in safely carrying out maintenance and improvement works. Cutting back vegetation will make social distancing easier on some sections.
We would encourage any visitors wanting to walk or run on the Coast Path post-lockdown to check our coronavirus news article on our website for the latest information, alongside checking latest government guidance."
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The Easter weekend is a HUGE earner for pubs, hotels and B&Bs so businesses are already reeling from such a blow. They are likely going to struggle to survive should they remain closed throughout Summer.
Hotel group The Pig was due to open a new hotel in Harlyn Bay just west of Padstow. Now the CEO Robin Hutson is not optimistic about that target.
“We’re itching to open but June is becoming very unlikely now. Everyone’s expectation is that it will be much later. We need six weeks to prepare for a new hotel to open.”
“For our kind of business, to work with a lot of social distancing rules in places is very difficult. Many of the properties, including Harlyn Bay, are carved out of historic buildings and they just don’t allow for creating lots of space.
“The economics of opening with levels of service commensurate with the room rates mean you have to open the entire hotel. The business relies on being busy.
“Apart from the health restrictions, people come to us for a social experience, and that’s created by people being close together. That’s how you generate a buzz.”
Areas that depend on tourism are likely to bear the brunt of the lockdown and Cornwall is fighting desperately to stem the proverbial bleeding from it’s economy.
We all hope that Cornwall along with many other places in the country can come out of lockdown as soon as possible without needlessly risking the health and safety of its citizens.