Yorkshire Dales and National Parks in lockdown dilemma – The Yorkshire Post says

STILL angry at the senselessness of all those who defied public health guidance and visited beauty spots at the outset of the Covid-19 lockdown, families living in national parks are, understandably, fearful when restrictions are eased.

Police and rangers carried out checks on motorists in the vicinity of Aysgarth Falls at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.

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They sense, a month later, that there is a growing restlessness, even though the Government – and its scientists – are still exercising caution as the death toll in UK hospitals alone approaches 20,000.

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And while it is paradoxical that they want visitors to stay away when tourism is so integral to the viability of the rural economy, the reopening of the countryside will need to be phased – and managed – to minimise any risk of the virus spreading still further.

North Yorkshire Police on patrol at Aysgarth Falls.

As such, it is important that the park authorities – and other agencies – prepare for this eventuality by coming up with a plan which can, in turn, be signed off by the Government. After all, there is the space for social distancing but the desire to escape to the country will be even greater after the lockdown – especially if overseas travel is off limits.

It will also be an opportunity for UK tourism, a sector already paying a heavy price because so many businesses, from innovative local attractions to award-winning B&B accommodation, do not appear to qualify for myriad relief schemes put in place by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

But that will only happen if the industry – which is worth nearly 10 per cent of GDP and supports three million jobs nationwide – has strategies in place that can be launched on the day it gets the green light from the Government.

Thus far, the omens are not good – hence why The Yorkshire Post’s weekend essay by Dales campaigner Susan Briggs will be required reading for everyone from Nigel Huddleston, the Tourism Minister, to VisitBritain, Welcome to Yorkshire, local businesses and also all those who care about the future of their favourite attractions.

A typical notice on a Peak District cafe.

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