Visitor numbers spark fears of a second wave of coronavirus in Dorset

Visitor numbers spark fears of a second wave of coronavirus in Dorset

Published by Maria Greenwood at 10:49am 2nd June 2020.

The Leader of Dorset Council's concerned there could be a second wave of coronavirus in the county, following an influx of visitors.

Spencer Flower has written to the Prime Minister to urge him to think again about unrestricted travel, and to instead get people to stay local.

Excessive numbers of visitors flocked to Durdle Door at the weekend, and the critical incident which followed put a strain on emergency services.

People had to be grouped together on the beach, to allow two air ambulances to land. 

durdle door closed 1

Council employees received abuse from members of the public after roads were closed to manage traffic.

Councillor Flower said:

"We've seen littering, people urinating and defecating in public, people camping overnight (which is not permitted under current government COVID19 guidelines) and people having dangerous campfires and BBQs - despite extensive warnings against this from all local agencies.

"Since the government announced on Sunday 10 May that lockdown was to be gradually eased and that people can "travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance", both we and Dorset Police have had very limited powers of enforcement. 

police stopping vehicles in Dorset

"For example the Police are no longer been able to challenge road users as to whether their journeys are essential.

"The current guidelines have a disproportionately negative effect on areas like ours which are popular with visitors but do not have the infrastructure to cope right now. 

"I am worried that we will see a second wave of infection here in Dorset as a result of the high number of visitors to the area over recent days."

The Dorset Council area had one of the lowest COVID19 infection rates in the country.