The Leader of Dorset Council, councillor Spencer Flower has issued a strongly worded statement discouraging people from visiting the county and says that car parks and loos will remain closed for the time being.
In his message to day trippers considering coming to Dorset as a result of the government’s easing of lockdown restrictions, he says, “Thinking of visiting Dorset now? Please think twice.” Signs will be put along the main roads into the county advising visitors that facilities are closed.
Increase the infection rate in Dorset
The concern of the council, along with many residents, is that the government’s new travel guidance may lead to the spread of coronavirus and increase the infection rate in Dorset.
The county currently has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and a large older population that are more vulnerable to the virus.
Cllr Spencer Flower said:
“People who may be thinking of visiting Dorset from elsewhere in the country need to ask themselves, is this safe? Is this fair? We really look forward to welcoming visitors back to our beautiful county in future, but it’s too early to take the risk right now.”
The car park at Durlston Country Park will stay shut
Car parks will stay closed
Dorset Council says car parks at visitor destinations including beaches and country parks across Dorset will stay closed for the time being. This means that Durlston Country Park’s car park will remain shut.
Council-run car parks that have remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic for local residents, will stay open but parking charges will now be reintroduced.
Dorset Council says its public toilets will also remain closed due to the difficulty for social distancing to be maintained at these facilities.
Councillor Spencer Flower continued:
“Our overriding priority is the safety and wellbeing of Dorset residents. We want to discourage people from outside the county and from areas with a higher rate of infection than Dorset from visiting our beaches and beauty spots, and inadvertently spreading the virus to local people.”
“We are working closely with our partners including Dorset Police to monitor and review the situation. We will adapt our approach when the situation changes.”
Swanage Town Council
Swanage Town Council says that there is currently no change to the number of facilities and services that are open or closed. Everything that has been closed at the start of the pandemic crisis, will remain closed. The council-owned beach huts, the tennis courts in Beach Gardens and the boat park by the RNLI station will all remain closed.