The Lake District National Park Authority has urged people to avoid travel and remain at home in a plea to help protect its rural communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
Richard Leafe, chief executive of the LDNPA, said: “The Government has made it very clear that all non-essential travel shouldn’t happen, so we are asking people not to come to the Lake District on the basis of that advice. Please remember the limited resources that support our local communities, businesses, farmers, police and rescue services are all under pressure at the moment.
“These are unprecedented times, and I never thought I’d encourage people to stay away from the Lake District. However, our footpaths often go through the homes of farmers and their families, our hotels and attractions are closing and our rescue services must be available to support this public health crisis. Right now, we need to do all we can to limit the spread of the coronavirus and this means people staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving hundreds of Cumbrian lives.
“We will continue to work with the police, local councils and other partners to look after our staff and volunteers and everyone who calls the Lake District home. We look forward to a time when we will, once again, return to some sense of normality and welcome visitors back to this special place.”
Other steps taken by the National Park Authority to deter visitors include closing its visitor centres and attractions and authority operated car parks, except for local and emergency use.
Rights of Way maintenance has been suspended and the popular winter Fell Top Assessor reporting service has stopped. Signs have also been put up reminding people to respect farmers and landowners’ properties during social distancing and isolation periods.