Tourist hotspots have said holidaymakers and second homeowners are not welcome during the Easter weekend, as they urged visitors to stay at home.
Councils across the UK have said those planning a weekend getaway can expect to be turned away by police, while local residents have been reporting visitors suspected of flocking to second homes or holiday lets.
A spokeswoman for a popular UK tourist destination said holidaymakers ignoring lockdown rules was a “slap in the face” for businesses that have been forced to close their doors.
Devon and Cornwall is closed. 👮 ⛔ 🚔
Please do not visit us now. You will be welcomed back when the time is right.
— DevonCornwall Police (@DC_Police) April 9, 2020
Councillor John Hart, leader of Devon County Council, said police had been turning around holidaymakers travelling with caravans or motorhomes on the A38.
He warned those visiting their second homes had placed “extra demand” on pharmacies and risked piling pressure on medical services in the south west.
“Please don’t pack your suitcase and come down, stay where you are, your safer where you are, and we’re safer with you where you are,” he told the PA news agency.
“At the present moment, don’t come, you haven’t got anywhere to go and on top of that you will distort our system and you may just bring germs down, and that’s the last thing we want.”
Annie Willey, brand manager of the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation – which represents local tourism companies, said residents had seen an “awful lot” of second home owners in the area.
Anyone who visits hotspots over Easter was giving a “slap in the face” to businesses which had battled “stress and pressure” to close in response to the outbreak, Ms Willey said.
“The amount of preparation and work that has been done over the last three weeks, for people to flout the rules and come here is just incredibly disrespectful of everyone,” she told PA.
“I think not only is it irresponsible from the sheer fact you are encouraging the spread of the virus, it’s just a slap in the face to these people who have worked so hard to then furlough hundreds of people.”
Councillor Liz Colling, from Scarborough Council in North Yorkshire, said she had received reports from local residents about people using holiday lets in the coastal resort during the lockdown.
“People are worried because we’ve got a beautiful, well-resourced hospital but it’s for us, for our population,” she told PA.
“It’s just flagrant disregard for the rules. We’re all missing families and friends, especially over the Easter weekend, and to see somebody travel from away to come to one of our beautiful hotspots just makes people angry.”
The cabinet member for economy, communities and commercial warned that police across North Yorkshire would be stopping apparent tourists over the Easter weekend.
She added: “It’s wherever there’s a traditional holiday spot or a beauty spot that people might want to come to.
“Even if they think they can just come for the day and have a long walk – no.”