Brecon Beacons National Park Authority supports Snowdonia National Park Authority’s call on Government to institute clearer measures to protect rural communities and the public in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic
Like Snowdonia National Park, parts of the Brecon Beacons experienced one of the busiest ever visitor weekends in recent memory this past weekend and it is clear that some people have travelled long distances to be out in the National Park. The National Park Authority is now calling on the government to institute clearer guidance on essential travel and social distancing in open spaces and the countryside, and to introduce measures in order to ensure that the spread of the virus is slowed. Based on experiences this weekend we fear that the current guidance is not explicit enough for people to protect themselves and others.
Cllr Gareth Ratcliffe, Chair, and Julian Atkins, Chief Executive, of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said:
“On Friday night the prime minister announced new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. This included ordering the closure of all pubs, cafes and hotels. Over the weekend following this announcement we have seen very large numbers of visitors at all of our popular locations across the National Park and it is clear that some visitors have travelled long distances to get here. Like Snowdonia, some areas have been overwhelmed with visitors but just as concerning is that people are not observing the guidance on social distancing.
We are supporting Snowdonia in calling on the Prime Minister and First Minister of Wales to provide stronger measures on unnecessary travel and social distancing, to ensure that we do not see a repeat of the scenes across Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons this past weekend. Specific guidance is needed on what “necessary travel” actually entails. We also call on all visitors and holiday home owners to heed government advice and avoid all but essential travel, and to stay at home to stay safe.
The major influx of visitors into the Brecon Beacons has caused significant concern locally, with people worried about increased pressures on their communities at a time when the NHS, rescue services, and food supplies are already under pressure due to the pandemic. We appreciate the importance of tourism to our local economy but it is clear that further guidance is needed to slow the spread of the virus and keep our communities and the public safe.
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority will focus all of its effort, energy and resources in the coming days and weeks on looking after the communities and businesses in and around the National Park. We will be pleased to welcome visitors back to this beautiful part of Wales once the situation has improved.”