APPEALS have been made for the public to stay away from the north coast this Easter amid non-essential travel being outlawed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sinn Féin’s Group leader on Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Cllr Cara McShane, said: “The North Coast and Glens is a magnet for thousands of people in normal times, but we are now living in extraordinary times.
“Tourism is a huge industry for all of us and is one of the major economic drivers in this area but in the current climate only stopping the spread of CV19 and saving lives is important. Our bars, restaurants and accommodation providers have shut their doors to help keep people safe.
“I am appealing for everyone else to do the right thing and to be selfless in these days ahead. Do not visit your second homes, caravan sites or have a day trip to the coast. Listen to the guidance by the health experts and by political and community leaders.
“Every decision you make, think of the people on the frontline who are putting their own health at risk and working around the clock to protect us.
“Think of the refuge collectors; the postal service staff; the people working in retail and all other essential services who are working to provide for us. They do not have a choice.
“Do not engage in non-essential travel. Stop the spread of this virus and stay at home.”
Chief Constable Simon Byrne shares this message as we approach Easter weekend. #StayHomeSaveLives and stop the spread of #Covid19, your actions matter.
Posted by Police Service of Northern Ireland on Wednesday, 8 April 2020
The PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne urged people not to be tempted to head to parks and beaches this Easter.
Meanwhile, Alliance Causeway Councillor Chris McCaw said: “The Causeway Coast is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland and attracts many thousands of visitors over the Easter period. This Easter, the experts expect us to be at the peak of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, so I am calling for people to stay at home and not visit us.
“The Causeway Coast and Glens area currently has the lowest level of confirmed Coronavirus infections in Northern Ireland and we want to keep it that way. I have been contacted by many people who are very concerned about it spreading in our area and we all have a role to play in stopping the spread of this infection.
“The Government has introduced the Health Protection Regulations, which state a person responsible for carrying on a business consisting of the provision of holiday accommodation must cease to carry on that business during the emergency period.
“This includes hotels, B&Bs, caravan parks and self catering accommodation. The Council has closed its holiday parks across the Borough, so caravan owners cannot access their accommodation.
“If you own a holiday home in the Borough, please do not visit.
“I would urge everyone to follow the advice from the medical experts and stay at home to save lives.”
The minister of agriculture, environment and rural affairs has urged people not to travel and visit beauty spots over Easter so “we do not reverse the good work that has been done”.
“I’d encourage every single person out there to take the advice not to do it,” Edwin Poots told the Stormont daily briefing.
He said while it was normal to want to get out over Easter and spend time with family, it was not possible this year.
“We want to go to our country parks and beaches, our nature reserves, our beauty spots and everyone has the same idea: it will be safe outside,” he said.
“However, it quickly becomes unsafe when crowds of people descend on our beautiful countryside and the social distancing then becomes impossible.
“This Easter must be different from previous years.
“We must stay apart and we must stay at home.”
He says police are playing their role in stopping all but essential travel, especially in the build-up to the Easter weekend.
He said: “People who are travelling to work are very often being stopped and asked where they’re going and that is right and that’s appropriate and the police are doing a good job on that front.
“We welcome that and that will continue to be the case.
“If people think that it’s ok to fill their car up and head off this weekend they’ll be in for a shock because police will be out on the roads,” he added.
“People will be asked what they are doing and the law will be explained to them that it’s entirely inappropriate.”
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