REGION IS PREPARED IF THERE IS A SECOND COVID SPIKE


Tourism chiefs are confident the summer is under control and health bosses say they are well prepared if a second virus spike strikes.

In a media briefing this week, Visit Cornwall’s chief executive, Malcolm Bell, said last weekend, when many pubs re-opened for the first time since lockdown, went well.

“A lot of businesses have opened on reduced capacity – campsites for example are at 50 per cent,” he explained. “And our visitor numbers are about 25 per cent down on this time last year.

“Signs we’re going to be inundated now look very unlikely. Research shows people are not looking to book holidays yet.

“We’re managing the situation now and looking to concentrate on September to March, driving business forward around food and arts events.”

Towns around the Duchy have been planning how to encourage customers back and figuring out how to manage government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene.

Richard Wilcox, manager of Falmouth BID and chairman of Cornwall BIDS Group, said: “Over the past few weeks, it’s been a gradual and measured approach in respect of re-opening, building trust and confidence.

“We’ve seen strong examples of innovative thinking and recovery plans being produced with Falmouth and Penzance used as templates for other towns.

“We want to give a reassuring message through a series of videos being produced around ‘welcome back and rediscover’.”

And Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council cabinet member for environment and public protection agreed this work meant things had gone well.

He said social distancing could be an issue outdoors with groups but the council was doing all it could to advise people and extra money from the police and crime commissioner, Alison Hernandez, for things like marshals and CCTV would help.

Cllr Nolan said: “When I saw the way people were running the pubs I thought it looked nice and well run.”

Council chief executive Kate Kennally said she was proud of the team effort involved: “I’m really pleased with how the council worked together with businesses, local councils and BIDs to prepare for last weekend and the fact it went so smoothly was down to a lot of hard work and preparation.”

Meanwhile, health bosses say the NHS is ready and prepared – in case a second spike of cases happens.

Dr John Garman GP said 111 should be the first port of call for anyone who needs urgent but not serious treatment, in order to ensure people end up where they can best be treated.

He said: “We’re trying to make sense of the limitations we’ve got around covid-19. If you get people going to the right place first by phoning 111 and getting a referral, we can manage everyone’s expectations.

“It really feels like we’re in a good place because services are talking to each other and the flow of information is really good.”

The council’s director of public health, Rachel Wigglesworth, said the authority had worked hard with Public Health England and other health teams to get a good system in place.

She added: “I do feel confident. We have a good data flow and very low numbers but we are prepared in the event there is an increase in cases.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.