MILLIONS of Brits hit beauty spots and beaches today on their first coronavirus freedom weekend – but they have been warned by police to follow social distancing rules.
Changes in the Covid-19 regulations from Wednesday mean people in England can now drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance – so long as they do not travel into Wales or Scotland.
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The RAC predicts 15 million leisure trips will be made by car in the UK this weekend.
The easing of the Covid-19 lockdown in England means people can drive as far as they want to exercise outdoors, as long as they do not spend the night away from their home.
But several tourist boards have urged people to stay away due to fears they will be overwhelmed by visitors.
James Mason, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "Many of these places have ageing populations who need protecting.
"People also need to understand that not all services would be open as usual, including public conveniences, pubs, restaurants and accommodation so it won't be the usual visitor experience.
"If you're travelling more than 10-15 miles is it really necessary? We'd say 'Dream about it, explore later'".
Julian German, the leader of Cornwall council, added: "We have been really clear alongside government that people shouldn't be coming to Cornwall on holiday and that it's totally inappropriate.
"The minor changes in policy that happened this week don't change that and we're not open for tourism."
Yesterday Airbnb extended its restrictions on bookings until the end of this month.
In some areas, locals councils have told outsiders they are not welcome and there were fears people arriving in large numbers could result in vigilante attacks.
Cleveland Police put out a warning to the public after a number of nail traps were found hidden in Guisborough Woods, a popular spot for walkers.
Similar traps made of drawing pins were found on paths near Bournemouth in Dorset yesterday.
Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, issued a plea asking them to consider whether it was really worthwhile.
He said: "All I would ask is that anybody who is planning to travel to a beauty spot, be respectful to the communities while you are there.
"Be respectful for the environment while you are there and obviously think about whether you want to go to places that are going to be very, very busy because that will inevitably make social distancing more challenging for you."
He added: "Think about what travel and what activities you are going to undertake outside and try still to be sensible about what you do when you are out.
"Maintain the two-metre distance at all times where that is possible and generally put yourself in a place where you can maintain that distance because that is what will stop you being infected or stop you infecting anyone else."
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