Public urged to keep away from UK holiday destinations to limit coronavirus spread as Snowdonia records busiest ever day

Visitors are being urged to keep away from beaches and other holiday destinations in the UK to limit the spread of coronavirus after record-numbers descended upon some tourist spots over the weekend.

Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA) called on the government to act after the area saw "unprecedented scenes" on Saturday which saw hundreds of people walking up Wales' highest mountain in what the park say was "the busiest visitor day in living memory".

People flocked to Snowdonia despite government warnings. Credit: North Wales Live (Daily Post Wales)

Cars were forced to park along the verges after the main car park filled up.

In a statement, the SNPA said they "fear that the current guidance is not explicit enough for people to protect themselves and others."

Snowdonia was not the only beauty spot to see record numbers of visitors, Cumbria Police said the Lake District and other tourist hotspots in the UK were experiencing an “influx” of visitors.

The force has now urged people from outside its county to keep away, stating that the Lake District is “no longer conducting business as usual”, with pubs, restaurants and attractions advised to close.

It comes as West Wittering Beach in Chichester, south-east England, closed to the public after the number of visitors on Saturday “far exceeded” expectations, the estate owners said.

The seaside town of Whitstable in Kent saw people flock to its beach. Photos on Twitter showed people shunning social distancing rules and sitting close to each other and standing in queues for oysters.

Meanwhile, the Visit Cornwall tourist board published a statement on Friday asking people to postpone their visits to a later date “despite the lack of clarity from Government” around the situation.

Emyr Williams, Chief Executive of the Snowdonia National Park Authority said: “We have experienced the busiest visitor day in living memory. The area has been overwhelmed with visitors. More worrying still is the significant crowding on the mountain summits and trails making it impossible to maintain effective social distancing”.

Visit Cornwall asked tourists to postpone their visits Credit: David Davies/PA

In a statement on Saturday, Cumbria Police’s assistant chief constable Andrew Slattery said: “Whilst we are looking at all measures to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, I must urge people living outside the county not to visit.

“A national emergency shut-down of businesses and schools is not an excuse for a holiday.

“Cumbria County Council yesterday urged people to stay at home as far as possible to protect out NHS and save lives. I reiterate that advice and it is important that we all follow it.”

In a statement, Mr Slattery said public services within the county, located in north-west England, are resourced to serve its population of 500,000 and will be “stretched to breaking point” by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Large numbers of visitors will only place an additional burden on these hard-pushed professionals,” he added.

“These are unprecedented times and our first priority is the protection of life. People’s lives must come first.”

West Wittering beach was closed on Saturday afternoon Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Elsewhere, the West Wittering Estate posted a message on its website to say its beach and car park would be closed as remaining open had “encouraged an unacceptable movement of people” into the local community.

“We understand that the restrictions imposed by the government make us an attractive option for exercise, dog walking, and socialising, but we cannot in good conscience remain open to the public,” it said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs and restaurants across the country to close in a bid to impact the infection rate by reducing “unnecessary” social gatherings by 75%.

In a statement, the Visit Cornwall website posted: “Despite the lack of clarity from the Government, Visit Cornwall is advising that visitors should not come to Cornwall at this time.”

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