- Despite the fact that the UK has been on a full lockdown since March 23, people are reportedly disregarding social distancing measures and fleeing to their second homes in the countryside.
- Specifically in the county of Devon, reports have surfaced of people sneaking into the area in the evening “to avoid roadblocks.”
- Local officials feared that the amount of people heading toward the countryside would increase amid Easter last weekend.
- The UK is nearing 100,000 reported coronavirus cases, according to the latest available estimates.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In the South West England county of Devon, reports of second-homeowners sneaking in at night has caused an uproar among locals who fear that an influx of part-time residents could overwhelm the area’s resources, according to The Telegraph’s Hayley Dixon and Charles Hymas.
As a result, some authorities have proposed setting up “roadblocks” and “checkpoints” to prevent more people from coming to area, similar to the locals in Cape Cod who started a petition to close all of the bridges.
On March 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a public lockdown that could last up to six months. Under the lockdown, Brits are not allowed to leave their homes except for “essential activities.” There is also a ban on gatherings of more than two people, excluding those who live together, in addition to a ban on “weddings, baptisms, and other ceremonies but excluding funerals.“
Those refusing to comply can be fined up to £1,000 ($US1,200),Business Insider’s Adam Bienkov previously reported.
But apparently, this hasn’t stopped some from fleeing big cities for their holiday homes in more rural areas
“I am deeply disappointed at reports I have heard over the weekend of the ongoing arrival of second homeowners under the cover of darkness across the county to avoid roadblocks, and have raised this matter directly with the police as well,” Selaine Saxby, the member of Parliament (MP) for North Devon, said in an open letter to the Devon County Council.
People in some areas of the UK were already disregarding the public lockdown to go to bars and travel, prompting local authorities to tout the idea of closing down tourist “hotspots,” according to the Telegraph.
The Telegraph reports that ministers have thought about using “scare” tactics to keep people home, stressing the fact that the further spread of the virus threatens the doctors and nurses working on the front lines of the pandemic.
Police in the Cotswolds, another popular vacation spot where Victoria Beckham is currently quarantining with her family, said they have caught people coming from as far as London, which is nearly 100 miles away, the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard reported on April 9. Initially, authorities thought Easter weekend would cause a uptick in travellers. Reports have not been released, as of yet, to see if they were right, but their fears aren’t unfounded: An April 5 analysis by the Times of London found that there were higher-than-average rates of the coronavirus in places where there are many holiday homes, including in the Cotswolds.