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Date published: 22nd May 2020

Norfolk residents and would-be tourists are being urged to help protect Norfolk by acting responsibly this Bank Holiday weekend.

With good weather forecast, North Norfolk District Council, along with partners of the Norfolk Resilience Forum, made up of organisations across Norfolk including councils, the blue light services and the NHS, are reminding people to stay away from crowded places, such as the coast, and to maintain social distancing at all times.

Speaking on behalf of the forum, Tom McCabe chair of the NRF Strategic Coordination Group and Head of Paid Service at Norfolk County Council, said: “It’s understandable that people want to get out and enjoy themselves. But we need to do this in a sensible way to avoid increased risk or placing additional stress onto not just the NHS but wider services like our coastguard.

“We need to understand that the restrictions have been ‘eased’ and not lifted completely. We need to move forward sensibly and it is not possible to immediately go back to as things were previously.

“Rather than jumping in your car this weekend and heading to the Norfolk coast or other popular spots, a sensible approach would be for us to continue to continue enjoying outside space that’s near to where we live. If you go somewhere and it looks busy, then go somewhere else. Do the right thing, protect yourself and look after your family by not adding to the crowd.”

Dr Louise Smith, Director of Public Health at Norfolk County Council, said: “People tend to take their lead from what others are doing. This means if we think that more people are doing something that we want to do, we’re more likely to do it too. This is how crowds build quickly.

“Before we make plans for the weekend, we need to remind ourselves that as we start enjoying the outdoors more and travelling further afield, we are creating more opportunities for the virus to spread. Not just through proximity to other people in crowds but other ways such as refuelling your car or using a car park machine.

“Wherever we go, taking hand sanitizer and tissues with us are ways in which we can continue to the good habits of keeping clean hands and catching coughs and sneezes that will help reduce the risk to ourselves and protect others.”

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “There will be extra officers engaging with our communities along the coast in coming days as a result of the activity we have seen this week. 

“I’m not going to make a plea to avoid the coast this weekend as I recognise how important fresh air and exercise are in the current crisis, but what I would encourage anybody that’s considering going to the coast to do is to think about social distancing.  Think about the risks, to yourself and others and also think about the way that you drive there and where you park your car. It cannot be abandoned, which then hazards other road users.  In addition, please be respectful of the communities that live along our coastline.

“Let’s try and be respectful of each other, let’s work together to overcome this as we have done it’s felt to me from the outset. We need to come together to protect ourselves and protect Norfolk.”

Cllr Sarah Bütikofer, Leader of North Norfolk District Council: “We have to strike a balance between keeping our residents safe whilst acknowledging that lockdown restrictions have been eased and we may see more people visiting the area. Difficult decisions have been made whilst bearing these factors in mind, including the opening of certain facilities. For now, we must continue asking tourists to stay away at this time if possible, but we look forward to welcoming you back in the future. The safety of my residents will always be my top priority.”

After careful consideration, some NNDC facilities are re-opening and the situation will be constantly monitored. Nine of the public toilets have re-opened as well as certain car parks. People considering visiting the area are encouraged to check our website and social media channels for the most up to date information.

With some local businesses re-opening, people must be reminded that a conscientious approach should be taken. Social distancing rules must be adhered to, hands should be washed or sanitised regularly where possible, and contactless payments should be made where available. Car park users are encouraged to make use of the MiPermit cashless payment system for car park tickets, details of which can be found in all of our car parks.

North Norfolk residents who are vulnerable or shielding and need assistance over the weekend, such as help with a food parcel or prescription collection, should contact the NNDC COVID19 helpline on 01263 516000 or fill in the vulnerable person form.

Last updated: 22nd May 2020