Calls for ‘clear and safe’ return to tourism after Boris Johnson speech sparks confusion
Tourism bosses said they were seeking clarification after the government’s guidelines for the next phase of coronavirus lockdown left confusion over the implications for Norfolk.
And councillors demanded direction from the government – stating the county wasn’t prepared for ‘floods of day-trippers.’
The confusion came after prime minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Sunday, stating people from different households could now meet and spend time in public places such as parks as long as they stayed more than two metres apart. Also, from Wednesday, people in England will be able to spend more time outdoors ‘for leisure purposes’ and play sports with people from the same household.
The next step could see some hospitality businesses and other public places re-open.
But Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council, speaking at a virtual cabinet meeting, said: “The prime minister just opened the doors to day trippers to flood back to Norfolk’s coasts and beauty spots, which could bring huge risks. Norfolk needs to hear more from those who are supposed to be leading.”
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Great Yarmouth councillor, Labour’s Mike Smith-Clare, echoed this, saying in the same meeting: “Surely a plan must be in place to deal with any sudden influx of day trippers? Yes, we need a process in which tourism can return to our town, but it must be clear, safe, transparent and logical – it will backfire disastrously if it’s rushed or even worse, ignored.”
Confusion reigned at the Broads Authority which tweeted it ‘was not entirely clear’ from the prime minster’s statement whether people could visit the Broads or not.
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David Graham, general manager of Dunston Hall Hotel in Norwich, currently closed because of coronavirus, said he was also awaiting confirmation whether the new advice from the government meant they could re-open the golf course. “The prime minister mentioned sports and this would seem to apply to golf but we are waiting for confirmation as it isn’t clear and we don’t want to do anything to make the situation worse.”
But it looks like people may be able to have a self-catering holiday in the county with Norfolk Cottages now booking its properties from June 4, although it stated this may be subject to change.
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