The public should not be coming to the Yorkshire Dales if they can’t practice social distancing, the chief executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said last night.
David Butterworth said the number of people coming to the Dales on Saturday “beggars belief”.
Yesterday, Richmondshire Today reported that large numbers of people had come to the Upper Dales, and were visiting its towns and villages, including Hawes, Bainbridge and Askrigg.
County councillor Yvonne Peacock said locals were “nervous” about the visitors increasing the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.
She said they were also putting a strain on local food shops.
District councillor Jill McMullon said she had called the police about the large numbers of bikers in Hawes yesterday, however she was told there was nothing they could do.
On Friday, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority issued guidance to help the general public to exercise safely outside during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The advocated people taking “active outdoor recreation alone or in small family groups, respecting social distancing with others and sticking to low risk, familiar activities and areas”.
But Mr Butterworth said that what happened on Saturday in parks, coastal resorts and rural locations across the UK was not social distancing or families sticking to low risk activities and areas.
He added: “What we’ve seen today in so many towns and villages in the national park simply beggars belief.
“The number of people coming to the area today and acting so irresponsibly at a time of national crisis cannot be acceptable.
“If people chose to come here and ignore Government advice regarding social distancing, then I would suggest they do not travel to the Yorkshire Dales at all and stay at home.
“This appears to be the only way to better ensure the safety of all our residents and in particular key workers who live in the national park, who we need to be fit to support the fight against this dangerous virus.”