HOLIDAYMAKERS are being asked to stay away from the South West amid fears increased travel to the region could see the coronavirus outbreak quickly spread.
Despite pubs, restaurants and cafés closing their doors this week, Lyme Regis seafront was busy on Saturday, with many visitors making the most of the improved weather.
This sparked complaints from many residents that ‘social distancing’ measures advised by the government were not being taken seriously enough.
In particular, concerns have been raised about the impact those travelling from all over the country will have on Lyme’s largely elderly population.
West Dorset MP Chris Loder described those visiting the county, especially the Lyme Regis area, as “reckless” in a Twitter post, encouraging people to follow government advice and stay home.
He added: “I will be doing all I can to deal with this.”
Thank you to all of you who have made me aware of the reckless number of people choosing to travel to Dorset, especially the #LymeRegis area, for a ‘holiday’, at a critical time when the CLEAR advice from Government is to #StayAtHome I will be doing all I can to deal with this. pic.twitter.com/pxc9VYBalg
— Chris Loder MP (@chrisloder) March 21, 2020
Dorset Council also asked visitors to stay away in a tweet on its Travel Dorset account, asking people instead to enjoy the weather from home.
If you’re thinking of coming to Dorset for a break or paying a visit to the coast during the relatively nice weather, for once, we’re politely saying: no thank you.
Please stay at, or return home and enjoy the weather from there.
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/Tz9lokAiwT
— Travel Dorset (@TravelDorset) March 22, 2020
Others have argued that tourism is essential for the local economy to survive, as visitors will be paying to park cars and using many takeaway outlets that local businesses have set up this week.
Following the concerns, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reinforced his advice that everyone should stay home where possible in his press conference on Sunday night. The government has also issued the below advice on essential travel.