A joint plea has been issued for the public to adhere to the Government’s “stay at home” instruction and keep away from the Lake District this weekend.
With warm weather forecast, it is feared that large numbers of visitors will be tempted to break the enforced nationwide lockdown and make a pre-Easter trip to the Lakes.
However, national park and local mountain rescue leaders have backed health chiefs in Cumbria who are urging tourist to stay at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority, said: “The residents of the Lake District need the great British public to respect government advice. An influx of day trippers coming into the park will inevitably mean people coming into close contact and we really should be avoiding that. Enjoy your weekends at home. The Lake District will be here for you when this is all over.”
His view was endorsed by Richard Warren, who represents the 12 Cumbrian mountain rescue teams, including Keswick’s. He said: “We cannot stress enough the importance of staying at home. Last weekend across the whole of England and Wales there were only four (mountain rescue) callouts, with just one in Cumbria. The fells remain quiet and we thank the public for heeding the advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save the lives.”
Cumbria’s health chiefs stress that following the ‘stay at home’ and social distancing guidance is the most important thing people can do to save lives and prevent the NHS being overwhelmed. The risk is that if people do not do this, then the pandemic will last longer and cause additional deaths.
The latest official figures show that 58 people have died across Cumbria’s two NHS Trust areas.
Colin Cox, Cumbria’s director of public health, said: “I understand that some people might be getting frustrated by the current restrictions but I cannot stress strongly enough that people should do the right thing and really limit their movement and contact with other people. There are some encouraging early signs that social distancing is having the effect we want and that the spread of the virus may be slowing down. It’s not easy but it’s a small sacrifice when set against the chance of spreading infection and people becoming seriously ill.
“This is about not pushing the limits of what the law permits. It’s about people acting responsibly and working together to protect their communities.”
Meanwhile, the Lakeside and Central car parks in Keswick will remain closed over the weekend.