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Council Leader voices concerns about easing COVID restrictions

Date Published: 12 May 2020
Catmose offices

Rutland County Council Leader Oliver Hemsley has shared concerns that changes to England’s COVID-19 restrictions could result in more people visiting Rutland while the virus is still a threat.

The Prime Minister announced a number of changes to national lockdown rules on Sunday 10 May. This includes allowing people to travel to other destinations and spend unlimited time outdoors, as of this week.

This has led to concerns that increasing numbers of visitors may return to Rutland, despite the fact that local shops, cafés and attractions remain closed.

“While it was reassuring to see the government sketch out its roadmap for exiting the COVID-19 lockdown, I think everyone would agree that we are not out of the woods just yet. We must continue to be extremely careful. I know some people are concerned that easing restrictions on travel and exercise will bring visitors back into the county from other areas at a time when many of our residents are still extremely vulnerable to the virus. Tourism is a big part of our local economy. However, local visitor attractions, such as Rutland Water, remain closed, along with cafes, pubs, restaurants and shops in both our market towns. We have a large population of older residents for whom COVID-19 is a much greater risk. We could also do without a sharp increase in traffic on rural roads at a time when emergency services remain severely stretched. All told, I think we have to be honest and say that Rutland is not ready to welcome visitors back just yet.”
Councillor Oliver Hemsley, Leader of Rutland County Council

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