‘North Yorkshire is very much NOT open for visitors yet’ – Stark message as lockdown measures are eased

Rievaulx Terrace. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

The easing of the coronavirus restrictions come in to force today – but North Yorkshire is calling for visitors to stay away.

Ministers have relaxed the “stay local” message so people can drive to outdoor open spaces “irrespective of distance”, as long as they respect social distancing guidance.

But leaders are worried that will see an influx of day-trippers.

Chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council Richard Flinton said they were “busy mapping out the actions we can take to try and provide the safest possible spaces where we can”, focusing on busy places where streets are narrow.

He said:

  • We are all also working with the National Parks and Welcome to Yorkshire as well as the local enterprise partnership to target messaging outside of the county to be clear that the county is very much NOT open for visitors yet.

    We look forward to welcoming everyone back when we are through this – but we are not there by some way yet.

‘Go somewhere else’

Shops and restaurants are still closed

Mr Flinton said few facilities were available for hand washing and toilets. Restaurants and most shops remain closed and some areas will have less car parking “because we may need to use some of that space to keep people safe”.

“We anticipate some of our beauty spots will be much busier and we will try to alleviate pressure where we can,” he said.

“We also encourage everyone to access open countryside close to their homes rather than head to these hot spots.”

Mr Flinton, who is also chair of North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, added: “We understand that there will be some anxiety in many communities about the relaxation of the rules. Particularly in those areas most likely to attract larger numbers of visitors.

“Together we are putting in place the measures we can to try and deter crowds and manage public spaces.

“Our collective ask of you is that you exercise and enjoy open countryside close to your home, but keep away from crowds.

“If you think somewhere may be busy – go somewhere else. Please play your part in continuing to mitigate the impact of this terrible virus by washing your hands regularly and staying at least two metres apart from people not in your household.”