Coronavirus: Salcombe visitor 'avoiding town like the plague'

  • By Jonathan Morris
  • BBC News Online

Image source, AFP

Image caption,

Salcombe's narrow streets and a huge influx of visitors have made social distancing difficult

Visitors to a seaside town have been urged to "show a bit of respect" and follow social distancing rules.

Salcombe's mayor Nikki Turton said holidaymakers visiting the Devon town seem to "think they are in a bubble" and do not have to socially distance.

One visitor said he avoided the town centre "like the plague" because of the lack of space in the narrow streets.

And a shopkeeper said he had brought the shutters down due to people's behaviour.

Salcombe has a population of about 2,000 in the winter but this has "surged" to about 25,000 after the lockdown, according to the town council.

Ms Turton said signs were being ignored by the "minority who don't think it counts because they are on holiday".

Image caption,

Nikki Turton said "everybody is exhausted and overwhelmed"

"It's like August bank holiday weekend every day, everybody is exhausted and overwhelmed," she said.

"The businesses need the customers but we would just like a bit of respect back for the town that they claim to love."

Regular visitor Mycroft Perry, from Gloucestershire, said holidaymakers were "desperate for normality so they are coming down here and taking a holiday from coronavirus".

"I have been quite nervous about the whole thing, and staying in the cottage and avoiding the town like the plague," he said.

"If you go up the main street you can't stay a metre away from everyone - it's like running the gauntlet."

Image caption,

Mycroft Perry said visiting the town centre was "like running the gauntlet"

Image caption,

Social distancing can be impossible in Salcombe's narrow streets

Steve Reddish, of Reddish Marine, said: "Last week it got so bad we had to shut the doors of the shop because of the attitude of people.

"They were arguing with us - one man said 'oh corona doesn't really exist'.

"You can't put that on your staff members, it's not fair."

Image caption,

Christine Milton said Salcombe's streets "are too narrow for social distancing"

Christine Milton, landlady of the Kings Arms, said: "The streets are too narrow for social distancing, but realistically everyone knew that from the start.

"The vast majority of people are trying do what they can but there comes a point when you just cannot physically do it."