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Cornwall Council shut down holiday accommodations amid coronavirus outbreak

Cornwall Council shut down holiday accommodations amid coronavirus outbreak

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 3:03pm 7th April 2020.

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

Glamping sites and holiday cottages are among the holiday accommodation which was shut down by Cornwall Council after it received around 200 reports of holiday lets still open despite being ordered to close due to coronavirus.

County Hall launched a dedicated email address last week so that people could report accommodation providers which were breaking the rules.

The council has joined with tourism organisations and the police to order people not to come to Cornwall during the pandemic.

However, some businesses continued to advertise that they were available for booking.

Last week Visit Cornwall chief executive Malcolm Bell said he was “furious” that websites such as Airbnb were continuing to advertise properties as being available.

Council leader Julian German revealed in an email to councillors that the council’s public protection team had been working over the weekend to ensure that accommodation providers were closed to holidaymakers.

“The overwhelming majority of holiday accommodation providers closed their doors last month but after we wrote to businesses last week we received around 200 reports from residents alleging that some holiday lets were still open to people visiting Cornwall.

“The majority of premises contact have now complied, including properties which were shut on Friday evening despite incorrect information on the various booking platform websites showing them as available; glamping sites near Newquay and on The Lizard; several premises which agreed to send guests home after being contacted; a campsite and other premises which have confirmed they are now closed; a holiday cottage letting agency which has now ordered all guests to leave and cancelled upcoming bookings.

“Our officers are phoning businesses to investigate complaints, followed up with written warnings.

“Onsite visits are made when businesses fail to comply or evidence is needed.

“There are a number of exemptions which allow some holiday accommodation businesses to remain open, for example, to provide accommodation for key workers, NHS staff and for health and care use.

“We’re requesting people reporting accommodation providers who may be breaking the law to give as much information as possible including a precise address, the name of the accommodation or owner and a telephone number or email address if known.”

Cllr Julian German, Council Leader

“We have been following up all complaints over the weekend and continue to do so today to protect our communities and protect our NHS resources. Thank you to everyone who has contacted us about this matter.

“Some complaints will require further investigation over the coming days and some will also require physical visits to check and possibly to take action, but the vast majority of complaints received have revealed no non-compliance with the new laws to close certain businesses or the accommodation provider was happy to take our advice and close.

“We need everyone to stay at home so we can fight this health crisis together but our message to visitors is to please come back to Cornwall when all this is over.”

Rob Nolan, Cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection

“I pleased that almost all tourism accommodation providers are complying with the law, that said it is still very disappointing that some were found to be flouting the orders of the Government.

“I would like to thank Cllr Rob Nolan and the Cornwall Council staff for their investigations over the weekend and I would ask the public to keep vigilant and report any further properties that they suspect may be defying the law.

“I would also ask that people not jump to suspicions or make adverse comments online or in person to anyone they suspect, as many will still be operating to house key workers, health and care staff and the homeless – so please report, but do not jump to the wrong conclusion.”

Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive of Visit Cornwall

“I am delighted that the proactive approach taken by Cornwall Council, which engaged businesses early in this issue, has had a significant effect, with the vast majority of accommodation providers complying with these regulations and some becoming part of the solution by providing temporary homes for critical workers and victims of crime.

“Unfortunately, there will always be a minority who do flout the regulations, both police and local authority partners need to be robust in dealing with them to ensure that we save lives and protect the NHS at this most vital time in our response to this crisis.”

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Anyone who wants to report a business which may not be following the rules should email covid19@cornwall.gov.uk

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