Council bosses and police in North Yorkshire ask people to carefully consider travelling this bank holiday

With warm weather predicted for the coming bank holiday weekend, council bosses and the police have come together to ask people to think carefully before traveling.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 9:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 9:34 am

Following widespread calls for people to wait until the county’s attractions and businesses reopen before visiting, the vast majority of people avoided the rural and coastal visitor hot spots last weekend.

While there was an increase in vehicles in areas like the national parks and more walkers and cyclists exploring the countryside, the anticipated crowds were much lower than feared, especially on the coast.

Richard Flinton, chairman of North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum and North Yorkshire County Council chief executive, has now reiterated the call for people to avoid busy areas.

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Message on Scarborough's North Bay. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

He said: “The vast majority of people did the right thing and avoided potentially busy areas. We applaud everyone for that collective effort.

“There were measures in place in some key locations to minimise parking and better facilitate social distancing and these seem to have been largely welcome.

“Compliance with the public health advice to stay at least two metres apart was broadly very good and we are grateful for the public’s continued support.

“As we head towards a warm bank holiday weekend – everyone’s buy-in remains critical to reduce transmission of Covid-19 and save lives.

“Please continue to protect yourselves and your families by avoiding crowds and washing your hands regularly.

“It’s understandable that some communities are anxious about visitors so thank you for being thoughtful and considerate to the people living where you want to explore.

“Everything will still be here in a few weeks’ time and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to our beauty spots and the whole of North Yorkshire when it’s safe to do so and our shops, cafés and restaurants are open again.”

The message was backed by Scarborough Council’s deputy leader Cllr Liz Colling.

Cllr Colling added: “Thank you to all ‘would be’ visitors who stayed close to home and chose not to visit our coastal towns and villages at the weekend. We really appreciate the sensible approach the majority of people have taken.

“Our toilets and car parks remain closed and, in line with government guidance, many local businesses are not open yet.

“With the weather expected to warm up again this week, I ask people to continue to play their part in helping to control the spread of coronavirus by only coming back to visit us when we are ready to welcome you properly. That time will come, but we’re not there yet.”

North Yorkshire Police’s Superintendent Charlotte Bloxham, silver commander for the response to Covid-19, revealed that 24 fines were issued by officers over the weekend between Friday and Sunday.

She added: “Despite being called to over 300 incidents where members of the public reported suspected breaches, on arrival, officers found that on the whole, people were observing the guidelines and regulations.

“There have been pockets where we have had to engage, explain and encourage people to stick to the rules, but we have only used enforcement as a last resort.”

The county council has not yet revealed if it will close Royal Albert Drive and Marine Drive in Scarborough to traffic for a second weekend running to help people to remain socially distant.

Parking areas in Whitby were also closed off to try and restrict the number of vehicles able to travel into the town.

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