'What we saw beggars belief': Yorkshire Dales blasts irresponsible visitors ignoring coronavirus distancing

The Yorkshire Dales tourism organisation has blasted 'irresponsible' visitors who turned up in their droves and ignored social distancing guidance.

Sunday, 22nd March 2020, 8:55 am
Updated Sunday, 22nd March 2020, 9:42 am

Official government advice says people can go outdoors to open spaces for exercise as long as they don't gather in groups and maintain at least three metres distance from all others at all times.

As a result, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority issued guidance to visitors, telling them to respect social distancing and stick to low risk activities and areas.

But the authority was stunned at the 'irresponsible' behaviour on display across parks and rural areas in the UK,

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The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority blasted irresponsible visitors

A statement issued by the authority said: "On Friday the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority issued guidance to help the general public to exercise safely outside during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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"What happened on Saturday in parks, coastal resorts and rural locations across the UK was not social distancing or families sticking to low-risk activities and areas."

David Butterworth, Chief Executive of the Authority said: “What we’ve seen today in so many towns and villages in the National Park simply beggars belief. The number of people coming to the area today and acting so irresponsibly at a time of national crisis cannot be acceptable.

"If people chose to come here and ignore Government advice regarding social distancing, then I would suggest they do not travel to the Yorkshire Dales at all and stay at home.

“This appears to be the only way to better ensure the safety of all our residents and in particular key workers who live in the National Park, who we need to be fit to support the fight against this dangerous virus.

“Thank you.”

On Saturday pubs, clubs and bars were closed to help prevent large gatherings and reduce the risk of the virus spreading, as far as possible.Anyone with a cough or any symptoms is being asked to self-isolate, while the advice to everyone is to minimise social contact as much as possible, and to only travel if absolutely essential.

Workers have been told to work from home if they can and to avoid going out in public other than for exercise, while still maintaining at least three metres' distance to others at all times.

Everyone should also be washing their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water.

Those in vulnerable groups, such as those who need a flu jab or are over 70, are being told to be extra cautious and also isolate themselves.