Call for 1m social distancing to revive Yarmouth
- Credit: Archant © 2009
A tourism leader will push for 1m social distancing rules in a bid to get Great Yarmouth “back to its former self” as lockdown is eased.
Great Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area chair Lyndon Bevan also said he and other bosses would be “calling on the borough council” to save the tourism industry from collapse.
Following news that Shearings had gone into administration and that the Bay Carlton Hotel on Great Yarmouth seafront would close, Mr Bevan admitted feeling “seriously worried” about the future of the town.
Mr Bevan said: “I will be meeting the council and asking serious questions about what will be done following Shearings’ collapse.
“I see it as the tip of the iceberg really - if tourism doesn’t get up and running again in Yarmouth then there will be severe wintertime degredation of business.
“Shearings’ ‘Turkey & Tinsel’ holidays, and other companies who offered similar UK coach trips, brought revenue to Yarmouth over the winter period. Without those visitors, everyone will struggle.”
Speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk, Mr Bevan also said that the Carlton had “great significance” as a building on the seafront - and could not be left to stand there empty.
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According to Mr Bevan, over 12,000 jobs in Yarmouth are dependent on tourism, and 50-60pc of those could be lost as a result of the pandemic.
He said: “I have a few businesses in Hemsby and if I don’t get money in soon I will not be able to stay open.
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“The Government grants are generous but not enough. We need to make a turnover now to survive the winter. There’s around 2,000 companies in Great Yarmouth who will be impacted by the fallout of coronavirus.”
The news comes as the borough council was awarded £88,000 in Government funding to “safely” re-open high-streets and tourist hotspots.Speaking more broadly about beginning to re-open leisure and retail under social distancing guidelines, Mr Bevan said: “Currently, we’ve been given this magic date of July 4 as a time when leisure businesses can start to reopen, but if that is pushed back for any reason that would be disastrous.
“We absolutely need people to obey social distancing, as ignorance of council measures could lead to businesses having to open even later in the year.
“If I’m being honest, I’ll be pushing for an even smaller isolation distance of 1m rather than two. It’s impossible to get Yarmouth back to its former self under the 2m restriction.”