SNPA calls on Government to institute clearer measures to protect rural communities
22 March 2020
Only 24 hours after the Prime Minister issued tighter measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, Snowdonia National Park experienced its busiest ever visitor day yesterday. The National Park Authority in now calling on the government to institute clearer guidance and measures in order to ensure that the spread of the virus is slowed. Based on the unprecedented scenes in Snowdonia yesterday we fear that the current guidance is not explicit enough for people to protect themselves and others.
Emyr Williams, Chief Executive of the Snowdonia National Park Authority said:
“On Friday night the prime minister announced new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. This included ordering the closure of all pubs, cafes and hotels. In the 24 hrs following this announcement there have been unprecedented scenes in Snowdonia. 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”.
We are calling on the Prime Minister and First Minister of Wales to provide stronger measures on unnecessary travel and social distancing, to ensure that we do not see a repeat of yesterday’s scenes across Snowdonia. Specific guidance is needed on what “necessary travel” actually entails. We also call on all visitor and holiday owners to heed government advice and avoid all but essential travel, and to stay at home to stay safe.
If no further steps are taken we will need to take drastic measures to protect the communities and health services in North Wales, such as shutting down car parks and trails.
Snowdonia is not the only area experiencing this problem; other visitor destinations across the world have also been overwhelmed. Yesterday, the Australian government were forced to close Bondai Beach following major over-crowding.
Local businesses reliant on the tourism sector in Snowdonia have been leading the way in making brave decisions over the past few days despite the economic impact it will have on them. Major attractions have closed their gates, small activity providers are cancelling their organised events and guided trips. Local restaurants and pubs are turning their focus to helping their local communities by supplying and delivering meals to the elderly and those in self-isolation. The communities and businesses within the National Park are pulling together to help one another, and we need our visitors to do the same.
This major influx to Snowdonia and North Wales in general has caused major concerns locally, with people worried about increased pressure on the NHS, rescue services, food supplies and visitor infrastructure, which is already under pressure due the pandemic.
In these challenging times the Snowdonia National Park Authority will focus all its effort, energy and resource in the coming days and weeks on looking after the communities and businesses in and around the National Park. We will be pleased to welcome visitors back to this beautiful part of the country once the situation has improved.
Notes to Editors
- Information regarding the SNPA’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic can be accessed at https://www.snowdonia.gov.wales/authority/coronavirus
- Video footage of cars parked on the roadside between Pen y Pass and Pen y Gwryd on Saturday the 21st of March 2020 available on request.
- For more information or to arrange an interview contact Gwen Aeron Edwards on 07887452467 or email firstname.lastname@example.org