Government has said ‘yes’ to campsites in England opening on 4 July, but the council for one of Britain’s holiday hotspots is worried about the impending influx of visitors despite it being a major part of its economy.
In a weekly survey by Visit Britain, which is tracking domestic intent to take short breaks and holidays during the current pandemic crisis, the South West is the leading destination in England for breaks up to September, and caravan and camping is the main choice for accommodation.
With the results of the tracker in mind both Devon and Cornwall are likely to see a significant increase in their populations during the summer months and that’s what is worrying Cornwall Council, which has seen predictions of a rise in Covid-19 cases alongside its visitor numbers.
While the Council says it recognises the importance of the visitor economy – economically it has been among the hardest hit regions – a second spike could see businesses having to close again, which it says ‘would have devastating consequences’. It is promoting a measured approach to the opening of the visitor economy, one that puts safety first. It says: ‘businesses must not be forced to choose between the safety of their staff and their livelihoods’.
The Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, in response to the Government’s announcement on 23 June of the opening of the hospitality sector and a relaxing of the social distancing guidance, pointed out that councils and local authorities will need help if there are fresh outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus. Even if a spike doesn’t materialise, businesses have 100 days of lost income to make up and Cornwall wants assurance from the Government that there will be help beyond the summer months in the form of continued business grants and extended furloughs.
The Council states: ‘Cornwall is and will always be a welcoming place, and we know that after the long and difficult weeks of lockdown many people will be looking to us as a destination for a summer break.’
Along with Visit Cornwall, it has a few suggestions for its visitors beyond social distancing, face mask wearing and hygiene measures; recommending to pre-book, not only accommodation, but also dining reservations and activities, and to buy advance tickets for attractions. It says this will allow businesses to plan ahead and ‘that way everyone can have a great holiday and help keep themselves and our communities safe.’