Torbay litter fears as region prepares to welcome tourists back after Covid lockdown

090421 torbay
Torbay is preparing to welcome back tourists from Monday April 12th Credit: ITV News

Litter pickers in Torquay say they are expecting a busy time as the region prepares for lockdown to end.

Some tourism restrictions were lifted on Monday 12 April - but pubs are not yet fully open, which has sparked concern that people will gather in public and leave rubbish behind.

Steve Darling, leader of Torbay Council, told Devon Live: "I am quite worried about the period from April 12 to May 17 because we saw when the previous lockdown lifted last summer that it puts pressure on open spaces because the pubs are not open indoors.

"Most people are responsible and do clear up. But one element that will help us this year is the new enforcement officers."

The officers have the power to issue 'on the spot' fines of £80, and volunteer litter picking groups will be in force across Torbay.

Litter pickers are preparing for a busy period. Credit: ITV News

What changes came into force on Monday 12 April?

Pubs and restaurants can now serve food and alcohol outdoors. Unlike restrictions in December last year, there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and there is no 10pm curfew.

But there will be no standing at the bar, and customers must order, eat and drink while they are seated.

The rule of six also applies (up to six people, or two separate households) as will social distancing rules.

Customers are required to wear a face covering when not seated.

Pub gardens reopened on 12 April. Credit: PA

Non-essential retail, including clothes shops, have also reopened, bringing some relief to the embattled high street.

Face coverings will be mandatory for anyone who is not exempt and social distancing rules will also remain in force.

The nation's lockdown locks can finally be brought under control as hairdressers have been given the green light to open again along with other self-care businesses such as nail salons.

Read more: