A reluctant plea to stay away from Whitby - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Andy Brown, Founder, Whitby Hospitality Organisation.

There is unease in Whitby about the lifting of the lockdown. Photo: Bruce Rollinson.
There is unease in Whitby about the lifting of the lockdown. Photo: Bruce Rollinson.

RECENTLY there has been a constant hum of ‘small town, stay home’ rhetoric both on social media and also, on occasion, in the print media.

This is driven by a small, but unfortunately vocal minority, pushing ‘stay away’ messages, often in response to very polite and reasonable requests for information and typically from the safety of their keyboards.

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Whitby residents and businesses want to welcome back tourists but are fearful about the health risks.

The majority of townsfolk genuinely appreciate tourists and totally understand how important the tourism industry is to the modern-day Whitby.

Admittedly, there is a lot of concern amongst the community, for the potential virus impact that an influx of day visitors could have.

In the weeks since Boris Johnson announced unlimited travel there has been a continuous up-tick in visitors to the town, causing an undercurrent of anxiety.

However, the majority of day visitors have been respectful and mostly stayed on the beaches. Just the odd one or two have caused some much-publicised concerns.

It is always attractive for people and the media to focus on the negative instances, whilst peaceful and responsible visitors go unnoticed.

An example of the generous spirit of the town is its businesses, most of which have been and are being massively impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.

Even the medium-term prospects are very worrying, due to the impact of social distancing and anxiety in both guests and businesses.

The town loves its visitors and can’t wait to welcome them back when it can do so safely. Until then, we do reluctantly ask people who love Whitby to resist the temptation to come into the town. As soon as we can, we will welcome people with open arms. Safely.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

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Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson