Wish you weren’t here

Please stay away – that is the message from North Somerset Council following the relaxing in lockdown restrictions.

Council leaders are urging visitors not to come to North Somerset. Deputy leader Cllr Mike Bell said: “Our primary concern is to protect the health and wellbeing of our local communities.

“North Somerset is not open for visitors. We don’t want people to travel into North Somerset from outside the area for day trips and instead want to encourage them to use outdoor spaces nearer to where they live.

“We’re not open for tourists – pubs, restaurants, hotels and B&Bs are all still closed. Our focus is on protecting the community here in North Somerset who have worked so hard to do the right thing in staying at home.”

He added: “This won’t be forever though, and when the time is right we’ll be ready and waiting to give visitors a very warm welcome again in Weston-super-Mare and North Somerset.”

While the message to visitors is to stay away, the council is taking some measures to encourage local residents to walk and cycle more and enjoy their outdoor spaces.

While the seafront and beach in Weston will remain closed to vehicles, some car parks in the area that were closed at the start of the lockdown will re-open on Friday (15 May).

They are Salthouse at Clevedon; Knightstone Causeway, Melrose and Worlebury Woods in Weston; Bus Terminus and Beach Road in Kewstoke/Sand Bay; and the cricket club car park at the Lake Grounds in Portishead. The seafront car park at Portishead will remain closed.

It will be cashless payments only in these car parks where charges apply and the number of ticket machines everywhere else will be reduced, minimising the risk of transmitting coronavirus by handling cash or touching payment machines.

Cashless payments can be made by using the MiPermit app, free to download on your smart phone, by text or online. Details of the payment options will be displayed in each parking area.

Normal parking enforcement, in car parks and on-street, will be in place across the district, although NHS and care home workers will continue to be exempt from parking charges and time restrictions until the end of June.

The council has kept the temporary relaxation of enforcement of the seasonal dog ban on Weston-super-Mare’s main beach under review. With the easing of exercise restrictions, the ban will be re-introduced from Friday (15 May) with a two-week grace period.

Some toilets in the seafront area will re-open this Friday where it is safe to do so.

It will be up to individual concessions who operate a takeaway service whether they wish to open. Any concession that cannot operate a takeaway service must remain closed.

North Somerset Council’s director of public health, Matt Lenny, said: “The ‘Stay Alert’ message is really important. To keep the ‘R’ number as low as possible and to protect our communities people must continue to stay at home as much as possible, work from home if you can, limit contact with other people, keep your distance and wash your hands frequently.”