A Dales county councillor said she would be asking Government for guidance after large numbers of visitors arrived in the Yorkshire Dales, despite the Prime Minister urging the public to stay at home due to the coronavirus.
Cllr Yvonne Peacock, county councillor for the Upper Dales, said there was a “nervousness” among residents about the number of tourists who had arrived in the national park in recent days.
The community leader said it was felt the numbers of visitors could put the area’s large population of elderly residents at risk.
She said: “There’s a nervousness because it’s felt we could potentially escape the worst of the virus in rural areas, but not if people bring the virus with them.
“People are also concerned about the pressure it is putting on local shops. They’re struggling to cope with demand from locals as it is without having to feed large number of visitors too.
“But it’s very difficult as accommodation providers are still allowed to be open. I plan to ask the government for guidance on the issue.”
Cllr Peacock said the Yorkshire Dales were not alone in having concerns, with the issue also affected areas such as Devon and Cornwall, where locals have expressed concern about the potential impact on local health services should they have to deal with a large number if visitors who caught the virus.
One Wensleydale resident, who ask not to be named, told Richmondshire Today: “It’s really important for people to exercise and get fresh air.
“But my understanding was they should be doing this in their own areas – Bainbridge, Hawes and Askrigg are so busy today with so many tourists.
“Surely this is going to lead to greater risk of the virus being spread.”
A number of social media users have questioned why there are so many visitors now in the park, with some campsites in the Dales reported to have numerous motorhomes parked up.
During the 2001 foot and mouth crisis in 2001 footpaths in the national park were closed.
However, the Government has said the public can go for walks in the country during the current crisis.