Holiday towns ban cars in anticipation of socially distanced tourism

Holiday towns ban cars ahead of 10 million people hitting the roads as lockdown eases

Tourist hotspots keeping all non-essential traffic away from town centre

ENGLAND’S holiday towns are banning cars from their streets as they gear up to accommodate socially-distanced tourists.

From Saturday (July 4), most businesses in England can re-open, including hotels, campsites and holiday homes, and many are expected to take up the opportunity for their first break away from home since lockdown began, in March. The RAC believes 10 million people will be heading somewhere for an overnight stay this weekend.

St. Ives, the picturesque seaside town in Cornwall, is one of a number of British beauty spots either partially or entirely banning cars from their town centres in order to allow holidaymakers to amble freely, according to The Times.

While the town’s small, meandering streets are more than apt for a seaside holiday, they were evidently not designed with social distancing in mind. Its council said that in normal circumstances, pedestrians are “crushing on to pavements” in order to allow cars to pass.

A council statement said: “If we lift all safety measures we could be back to where we were in February. Many businesses in the town might not survive a second lockdown. That is why the best way to support the economy is by ensuring that the town is a safe place for local people and visitors.”

The government has said that from this Saturday (July 4), pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as hotels and B&Bs, will be able to re-open across England, provided proper social-distancing measures are in place. The change is intended to help reignite the economy after mor than three months of closures during the pandemic. To help more businesses re-open for more customers, the two metre distance has been reduced to “one metre plus”, meaning people should still try to keep two metres apart but where that is impossible, they will be allowed to come within one metre of each other.

St Ives Town Council added: “The streets in the town centre are narrow and, in the busy summer months, there are hundreds of people moving on foot. Even in a normal year pedestrians are in conflict with vehicles, crushing on to the pavements to allow them to pass. It is very difficult to maintain social distancing even to one metre plus.”

Other towns that have adopted similar strategies include Falmouth, also on the Cornish coast, and Truro, Cornwall’s county town. The former is closing a number of streets for a portion of the day, while the latter is expanding the area of its pedestrian zones.

Heavy traffic could be a feature on Saturday, according to the RAC and Cazoo, as people rush to the coast and other tourist hotspots. The RAC found that a staggering one in three (31%) of drivers — equivalent to 10m people — will be heading somewhere for an overnight stay this weekend, with most, unsurprisingly, going to stay with family or friends that they have perhaps not seen for months.

Approximately 2m people are heading to the country’s campsites this weekend (despite the Met Office predicting showers), with a further million heading to a hotel, B&B, or self-catering accommodation.

Motoring organisations expect a surge in British “staycations” throughout this summer.  Though many air routes will be up and running again by the end of August, fears around travel insurance, quarantine and cancellations are likely to people off flying.

Research from LV= Britannia Rescue found that the easing of lockdown restrictions will result in 25m of UK adults — nearly half the total — holidaying in the UK this summer, with the average person expected to cover 310 miles on roads. A separate survey by used car site Cazoo found that it could be as many as three fifths (62%) of Brits that choose to holiday in the UK this year as a direct result of Covid-19.

A fifth said that they wanted to visit a destination they went to as a child — and Cornwall was the most popular choice of destination.

The RAC, LV= Britannia Rescue and Cazoo all reminded drivers to make all the necessary checks to their cars (tyre pressures, oil levels and coolant levels, especially) before making a long journey.

LV= Britannia Rescue’s checklist for a long trip:

– If it’s a while since you’ve driven your car, check your car battery hasn’t run down. Do this at least a week before you use your car so you can replace it or get it checked at a garage if there is an issue.

– Check your tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres before you start driving. Don’t forget about your spare tyre. Watch out for cuts, grooves and serious wear and make sure your tread is within legal limits. If your tyre pressure is correct, it’s safer and you’ll get better miles per gallon.

– Check your oil levels by using the dipstick and top up your motor oil if it’s looking low — this is especially important if you are setting off on a long journey. You should check your oil levels regularly and if you’re having to top up your oil more often than usual, take your car to the garage to get it checked.

– Check your lights are all working — you could get pulled over by police if one is not working. Check indicators, reverse lights, brake lights and fog lights and look out for blown bulbs and cracks or dirt on the lenses. To be sure you’re never caught out, keep a spare bulb in your car

– By law, your screen wash must work at all times. Keep it regularly topped up with a good screen wash solution — one that clears dirt from your windscreen and prevents the water from freezing during winter.

– Depending on how far you are travelling, keep the following essentials in your car in case you have an accident or breakdown:

– Wheel changing equipment, such as a jack and locking wheel nut
– Warning triangle
– Basic tool kit
– Fire extinguisher
– Torch
– First aid kit
– Blanket
– Plastic rain poncho
– High Vis jacket
– Water
– Phone charger

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