Great Yarmouth is closed: Warning ahead of Easter weekend

Great Yarmouth beach from the pier. PHOTO: Sonya Duncan

Great Yarmouth beach from the pier. PHOTO: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Great Yarmouth is closed to tourists this Easter weekend, the borough council has warned.

With temperatures rising and plenty of sunshine expected, the coastal resort would usually be preparing for a bumper weekend at the seaside.

But with the government’s guidelines to stay home and protect the NHS still in place, council bosses and tourist bosses have urged visitors to stay away.

Council leader Carl Smith said: “While Easter is normally the start of the season and we’d be promoting the borough for visitors, the national measures and messages are clear, so we’re asking visitors to continue to stay away, while we do all we can to support our residents and local businesses as part of the Norfolk-wide response.

“Please stay home this Easter, protect the NHS and save lives. Great Yarmouth is closed to tourists at current.

Carl Smith, Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader is appealing for businesses to get in touch over c

Carl Smith, Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader is appealing for businesses to get in touch over coronavirus concerns Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

“Attractions and car parks are shut as part of supporting the national efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“Now is not the time for tourism, but we look forward to welcoming visitors again in the future.”

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Great Yarmouth Borough Council are running a social media campaign over the four-day weekend aimed at those who might be tempted to break the restrictions by making unnecessary journeys to Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and local village resorts, potentially congregating on seafronts and beaches.

Lyndon Bevan, chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area, said: “We understand people’s desire to visit our wide open beaches and spend time in our quiet villages at what is a very challenging and uncertain time.

“However, the safety of our tourists and residents is paramount, so we request that people stay home for the foreseeable future to protect themselves as well as others.

“Those who own holiday homes and caravans in the area are also urged not to visit their secondary residence at this time.

“This will ease the pressure on our hard-working local health and emergency professionals, who are desperately needed to look after the resident population.

“We are doing all we can to help our local business owners and their employees cope with economic impact of their current closures.”

The campaign features traditional seaside imagery with slogans delivering the serious #StayatHome message.

This includes a life ring with the message “Stay Home, Be a Lifesaver”, and an ice cream with the message “No amount of whippy is worth the risk. Stay at Home.”

There will also be posts about alternative activities families can do safely at home.

In a letter to residents, mayor Michael Jeal wrote: “I know as a borough, a country and a planet we are going through a challenging time unlike anything we have ever experienced before.

“Unfortunately, this has brought grief to some, anxiety to many and disruption to all, but it has also brought out the best in people, with our community pulling together well in response.

“Firstly, I want to thank everyone on the NHS frontline, including at the James Paget Hospital, plus the care workers, council staff and other key workers, as well as the many volunteers and businesses who are undertaking essential duties to ensure support is in place for those who need it.

“I am certain that I speak for the entire borough when I say how much we appreciate you and how lucky we are to have those of you in our local community.

“Your hard work and dedication are helping us take one step closer back to normality and we applaud your selflessness.

“I also want to thank those who are staying at home, self-isolating and following the government’s measures on social distancing.

“I understand you are missing your family and friends, however by staying home, and looking out for one another, you are helping to protect your community and yourself. You should be proud of yourselves.

“As a community, we have to continue to take a united stance in tackling this disease, and that means staying home.

“Work from home if you are able to and only leave the house for necessities such as food, medicines and your one exercise a day.

“If you must leave the house, please remember to leave two metres distance from others.

“If you do need support this week or over the coming weeks, please call the official support number 0344 8008020 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).

“As part of the Norfolk-wide response, the council’s Community Team have been calling our most vulnerable residents to offer reassurance and support, which includes delivery of food and medicine where needed.

“No member of that team would cold call a resident and ask for their bank details or payment. So if anyone phones up or knocks at your door claiming to represent a charity, community group or the council, do ask for their ID, especially if they ask for money or bank details in return for a service. If you are unsure about their legitimacy then please call to check.

“The people of the borough, much like the rest of the country, have shown an incredible community spirit in this time of need and it warms my heart to hear stories of people helping others.

“Food banks have received a massive increase in donations from food suppliers, businesses and wholesalers, and volunteers have stepped up to help those in need.

“Though social distancing will be hard at times, please know that by doing so you are saving lives.

“This won’t last forever, and when these trying times are over, which they will be, we will emerge a stronger, closer community.

“Please remember to stay home, protect our amazing NHS and save lives.”