Cornwall Council is calling for a “careful and measured” approach to the reopening of the visitor economy.
It is widely anticipated that the hospitality industry will be allowed to reopen its doors from July 4, albeit with strict social distancing measures in place.
However, there are fears west of the Tamar that this is too early an influx of visitors to Cornwall could bring with it a spike in coronavirus cases.
In a statement, the Council said: “We have already been hit hardest of any region by the economic impact of the virus. A second spike would not only put lives at risk but may lead to a further lockdown, which would have devastating consequences for businesses all over Cornwall.
“For that reason, we’re encouraging a careful and measured approach to the reopening of our visitor economy – an approach that protects residents and visitors alike and puts safety first.”
The Council also calls upon the Government to extend its furlough scheme for those businesses who don’t feel it is safe to open up.
“Cornwall Council has worked tirelessly to administer more than £230 million in business grants, and in conjunction with our town and parish councils we have helped to make sure our town centres can reopen safely – but businesses must not be forced to choose between the safety of their staff and their livelihoods.
“The economic effects of the pandemic are profound and will take time far beyond the summer months to resolve. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to provide more support in the form of business grants and extended furloughs to help Cornwall’s recovery.”
Economy portfolio holder, Tim Dwelly, recently drew criticism from some quarters for suggesting that it would be better for the tourism sector to receive increased Government grants rather than open up for the summer.
The Council statement says: “Of course, as a local authority Cornwall Council has no say on when and where people can go on holiday from July 4 – that’s a matter for the Government, and something we have prepared for.
“Cornwall is and will always be a welcoming place, and we know that after the long and difficult weeks of lockdown many people will be looking to us as a destination for a summer break.”
The statement does implore visitors, however, to book ahead and not just turn up on spec.
“If you do intend to visit us this summer, please plan ahead, follow the guidance on face coverings and social distancing, and be considerate of those who live and work here so we stay safe together.
“Visit Cornwall has also stressed that it is essential to pre-book, not only accommodation, but also dining reservations and activities, and recommends buying advanced tickets for our attractions – that way everyone can have a great holiday and help keep themselves and our communities safe.”