Changes to lockdown measures have come into force today that allow individuals to travel anywhere in England for exercise.
Julia Mulligan says there are justifiable concerns from residents, businesses and organisations about the impact of saying everyone can drive as far as they like to outdoor spaces.
Julia Mulligan said:
Easing the stay at home message was never going to be easy. But now the rules have changed, it is clear we will have more visitors coming to tourist destinations across North Yorkshire.
We want people to be able to enjoy the countryside for their physical and mental health, but we also need them to be aware that many of the county’s facilities – from shops to cafes, toilets to tourist information, continue to be closed.
The new rules also present serious challenges for enforcement to make sure visitors are from the same household, observing the rules and not putting communities they visit at risk. Police have done a good job in difficult circumstances to keep us safe in recent weeks.
All other emergency services, the fire service to ambulance service, mountain rescue to coastguard, will potentially also have to cope with more pressure at a time when they are already stretched by the county’s response to the pandemic.
That is why my message to those thinking about travelling long distances to our tourist hotspots in the days and weeks ahead is to stop, think and then think twice.
Please remember, North Yorkshire is our home not just your playground. We need you to be alert to the risks of coming here, particularly overcrowding in beauty spots, and ask yourselves whether your journey and your visit helps or hinders efforts to control the virus.