Parks close as public ignore social distancing advice

Stirling Council has closed key car parks and Cairngorm National Park is urging people not to travel.

Parks across Scotland have closed or issued warnings after members of the public refused to socially distance themselves from others during the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Monday, Stirling Council said they would close car parks at key rural beauty spots to help enforce social distancing. 

The move comes after popular destinations like Balmaha and Callander in the area witnessed an influx of visitors over the weekend, despite instructions from the government and NHS for people to avoid all nonessential travel.

The decision follows similar action taken by the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority, which closed all visitor facilities on Sunday, to discourage any further travel or overnight visits.

Councillor Jim Thomson, convener for Environment and Housing at Stirling Council, said: “The increase in visitor numbers at a time of national emergency has jeopardised public health and put unnecessary strain on these communities.

“The advice to everyone is clear – stay at home and practice social distancing. Those who ignore this are putting lives in danger by increasing the chances of spreading COVID-19 and placing unnecessary pressure on local resources.

“People really need to understand the impact of their actions and act responsibly.”

Meanwhile Cairngorm National Park in the Highlands has also urged people not to travel to the beauty spot unnecessarily. 

Grant Moir, CEO of the Cairngorms National Park Authority said: “This weekend has seen an unprecedented surge in visitors to the Cairngorms National Park, in particular to beauty spots and communities, as people disregarded the government guidance on essential travel.

“The virus can be spread just as easily in the countryside as it can in urban areas.  We understand that it is a difficult time for everyone and getting away for a day in the National Park may be appealing but sadly this weekend has shown that people are not respecting the guidelines.  

“They are putting themselves and others at risk as well as putting a strain on local food supplies and services.  We are therefore urging people not to travel to the National Park unnecessarily.”

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