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Cornwall residents voice fears of coronavirus local lockdown as tourists flock to beaches

Ellen Manning
·4-min read
Tourists flocks to the Perranporth beach in Cornwall. 1st August 2020. See SWNS story SWPLtourism; Cornwall residents fear a local lockdown and say they are "scared to leave their houses"  - as some of the county's beaches are likened to "Benidorm on steroids". Some of the more popular seaside destinations along the south-west coast have seen trails of cars queuing through the town as visitors flock to beaches or holiday parks in search of a 'staycation'. But locals in these popular towns have been left feeling "uneasy" about leaving their homes - and some fear they could be in for a local lockdown set to be worse than the first lockdown. Tina-Marie Lally, from Penzance, tried to visit Porthminster Beach in St Ives last week - but shared photos on Facebook of the beach crowded with people and windbreakers.
Locals in Cornwall have complained that they are being overwhelmed by tourists. (SWNS)

Cornwall residents have voiced fears that they will become subject to a local lockdown as “unprecedented” numbers of tourists flock to the area for a staycation.

Locals say they are scared to leave their houses as visitors flood the area, with some comparing beaches to “Benidorm on steroids”.

Their concerns come as brawls erupted on beaches across the UK as thousands of people flocked to the seaside on the hottest day of the year on Friday, with police forced to intervene in Bournemouth, Wales and Scotland.

Local authorities have also warned that beaches are becoming “unmanageable” due to large swathes of visitors, prompting fears around keeping people safe in the water.

In Cornwall, residents said they have been left feeling “uneasy” about the numbers of holidaymakers that have descended on the area and fear they will be the ones who pay the price if a local lockdown is imposed.

The Perranporth High Street in Cornwall, busy with visitors. 1st August 2020. See SWNS story SWPLtourism; Cornwall residents fear a local lockdown and say they are "scared to leave their houses"  - as some of the county's beaches are likened to "Benidorm on steroids". Some of the more popular seaside destinations along the south-west coast have seen trails of cars queuing through the town as visitors flock to beaches or holiday parks in search of a 'staycation'. But locals in these popular towns have been left feeling "uneasy" about leaving their homes - and some fear they could be in for a local lockdown set to be worse than the first lockdown. Tina-Marie Lally, from Penzance, tried to visit Porthminster Beach in St Ives last week - but shared photos on Facebook of the beach crowded with people and windbreakers.
Perranporth High Street in Cornwall, where residents have voiced concerns about a potential local lockdown due to the number of visitors who are flocking to the area. (SWNS)

Tina-Marie Lally, from Penzance, tried to visit Porthminster Beach in St Ives last week - but shared photos on Facebook of the beach crowded with people and windbreakers.

She wrote: "I think it's safe to say we will be avoiding our beautiful beaches for the next few weeks. Cornwall or Benidorm? We don't know anymore."

Read more: Scientists back Boris Johnson's decision to scrap lockdown changes from tomorrow

She added that she heard lots of “Northern and Midlands” accents on the beach, saying: "Silly season is in full swing.

“We will be avoiding the beaches now until summer holidays are over - we can enjoy them again when it's quieter.”

The Perranporth High Street in Cornwall, busy with visitors. 1st August 2020. See SWNS story SWPLtourism; Cornwall residents fear a local lockdown and say they are "scared to leave their houses"  - as some of the county's beaches are likened to "Benidorm on steroids". Some of the more popular seaside destinations along the south-west coast have seen trails of cars queuing through the town as visitors flock to beaches or holiday parks in search of a 'staycation'. But locals in these popular towns have been left feeling "uneasy" about leaving their homes - and some fear they could be in for a local lockdown set to be worse than the first lockdown. Tina-Marie Lally, from Penzance, tried to visit Porthminster Beach in St Ives last week - but shared photos on Facebook of the beach crowded with people and windbreakers.
Some residents have likened Cornwall's beaches to "Benidorm on steroids". (SWNS)

Vicky White, of Newyln, Cornwall, added: “It makes me very uneasy to go out with my two young kids. The pavements have been bustling. It is sad for residents to not be able to enjoy where they live.”

Ian Goodman, of Perranporth, Cornwall, added: “We are going to be in trouble soon, Perranporth is heaving. Roads are all blocked and no-one cares. I am talking tourists here.”

Dave Gambrill agreed, writing: “Cornwall will be locked down again very soon. We're all doomed.”

Local businesses in Cornwall also voiced concerns about the volume of people visiting the area.

David Hall, 55, who runs surf shop Wind & Sea Surfing Centre in St Ives, said the number of people in the town was "unmanageable".

He said: “

“There's no social distancing. The plan to keep people to the left out on the pavements and the streets just isn't working.

“We need to avoid a local lockdown, and I don't feel like the council have done enough.”

Julian Price, 45, who manages Ticket To Ride Surf School on Perranporth Beach, added: “It's showing signs of being one of the busiest summers I can remember for quite a while.

“A few days ago I was walking along Perranporth beach, past the Watering Hole pub on the beach, and it was a bit like, 'Where's the sand?'. There was definitely no social distancing.

“I think for the majority of people coming down for holidays, it's not at the forefront of their minds. They just want to get away and not worry about it.”

Malcolm Bell, CEO of Visit Cornwall, said the tourist board is trying to strike a balance between keeping people safe, and rebuilding Cornwall's social and economic prosperity.

He said: "I've been keeping an eye on lots of places, and it's certainly been busy. For locals it probably feels very busy.

"It probably seems quite daunting for locals because if you're at street level, walking along in a crowd and looking straight ahead, you can't really tell that there's social distancing going on ahead of you.

"But if you look at it from above, you can see that people actually are keeping apart."

He added: “If it's busy, it doesn't matter if it is busy with tourists or with locals - we all have to maintain social distancing.

“We're encouraging people to try some of our smaller beaches, if their favourite beach is full. There are 300 beaches in Cornwall - it's about getting an even distribution.”