'Flood tourists' criticised for breaking Coronavirus lockdown restrictions

The flood barriers in place in Ironbridge after Storm Christoph brought heavy rain Credit: PA

There's been criticism directed at people who have headed into flood hit areas to take in the scenery or inspect its impact on people's homes and businesses - described as 'flood tourists'.

Heavy rain and snow have brought flooding to large parts of the country, including Bewdley where the River Severn overwhelmed defences and people were evacuated from their homes.

People must of course leave their homes if their lives are in danger due to rising water levels, but the lockdown comes with an instruction to "stay at home", with only essential travel allowed, and exercise once a day.

Officials have directed their anger at these so-called 'flood tourists,'

Wyre Forest District Council wrote on Twitter,

Worcester City Council described flood tourists as going against the rules, as well as potentially getting in the way of the workers trying to help those affected,

"Please do NOT go out to look at the floods in Worcester today. It's a breach of the lockdown rules and the presence of 'flood tourists' can hamper the work of agencies assisting the victims of flooding."

Worcestershire County Council even described flood hit areas as 'busy,'

"Please do not travel unless absolutely necessary. It is dangerous to do so in flooded areas.It has been busy with people at flooded sites in Worcester."

The Environment Agency manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Dave Throup, pointed out that victims of flooding have enough to cope with, without people watching them inspecting the damage for the first time, or trying to salvage their belongings.

What does the government say?

You must stay at home, only leaving home for work if it is impossible to work from home, or to provide voluntary or charitable services.

People can leave their homes to shop for necessities - for themselves or others - or to exercise locally once a day.

Exercise is permitted with one person from outside a household or support bubble. Social distancing must be maintained.

You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting).

This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

What counts as exercise?

These are the government rules on what counts as exercise, and you are advised to stay 'local.'

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

· by yourself

· with the people you live with

· with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)

· in a childcare bubble where providing childcare

· or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household

Public outdoor places include:

· parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests

· public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)

· the grounds of a heritage site

· playgrounds

What do the police say?

The rules state you must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ and the police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).

Today, North Worcestershire Commander for West Mercia Police, Supt Mark Colquhoun made his views about flood tourism clear,

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