Cornish locals report up to 650 second home owners and tourists

Cornish locals report up to 650 second home owners and Airbnb tourists as they continue to flock to rural areas during coronavirus lockdown amid fears of Easter influx

  • Police and council chiefs stepping up efforts to deter day-trippers to the area
  • Cars and caravans being stopped on the M5, at service stations and car parks 
  • Gordon Ramsay slammed for flouting guidelines and bringing family to Cornwall 
  • Airbnb insists it has blocked spare rooms being advertised during the lockdown

Hundreds of holiday lets and second home owners who have arrived in Cornwall ahead of the Easter weekend have been reported to the council.

Locals have highlighted some 650 cases of people ignoring the government’s lockdown orders in the past five days alone, according to The Times.

Since the nationwide measures to limit the spread of coronavirus were announced last month, the authorities have been stepping up efforts to deter day-trippers.  

A sign in Constantine Bay village on the north coast of Cornwall, pictured, warns people to follow the lockdown guidelines

This includes police stopping cars and caravans on key routes into the area, such as the M5, as well as at service stations and beauty spot car parks.

Visitors spotted on coastal paths have also been quizzed by officers.  

Rob Nolan, Cornwall council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, told the newspaper some holiday accommodation owners were still trading but tourists using them have been told to return home. 

St Ives in Cornwall, a popular tourist destination, has been deserted during the lockdown, pictured, but locals fear an influx of visitors ahead of the Easter weekend

‘The police are relying on unnecessary travel to stop the second home owners. They are going to ramp it up at the weekend,’ he said.

‘Locals are very anxious about people moving in next door to them.’

Most of the reports – made since the council asked for reports of lockdown rebels last Friday – have been about Airbnb rentals.

Furious residents have slammed Gordon Ramsay, pictured, for moving to his £4.4million mansion in Cornwall amid the coronavirus outbreak 

TV chef Gordon Ramsay is among those to have travelled to Cornwall in recent days, with nearby villagers furious with the 53-year-old for moving his family to their £4.4 million mansion in order to isolate amid the ongoing pandemic.

Other celebrities to have caused outrage by using the lockdown as an opportunity to move to the countryside include David and Victoria Beckham  

Cleaners working in holiday homes have even been asked to prepare properties for their owners’ arrival, according to the local MP.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, who represents Bridgwater and West Somerset, said he feared local health services would not be able to cope with an outbreak. 

There have even been reports of people moving into second homes, then driving back to London because they forgot their bread-maker, before returning again, The Times said.  

Airbnb told the newspaper it had taken away instant bookings and blocked spare rooms being advertised in the UK throughout the lockdown, as part of measures to ‘help everyone follow government guidance and keep people safe’.

Airbnb blocks UK properties from accepting new bookings – except for key workers 

Airbnb has blocked UK properties from accepting new bookings for the coming days unless they are for key workers.

The move comes after the accommodation site was criticised for advertising properties as suitable for guests to use to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm said it has stopped properties from receiving new bookings up to at least April 18.

An exception will be made for its initiative which offers free stays for NHS staff and paid or subsidised stays for other key workers exempt from the Government’s travel restrictions.

Last week, Airbnb blocked private room bookings and temporarily removed the ability for whole properties to be instantly booked.

Airbnb director of public policy Patrick Robinson said: ‘Hosts across the UK are playing a vital role in housing NHS and other medical staff as they continue their critical work.

‘We’ve also heard from hosts who want to help others follow the rules and keep people safe during these unprecedented times.

‘Restricting bookings on Airbnb to key workers and other essential stays will allow hosts to continue supporting front-line workers while following Government guidance.’

Earlier this week it emerged that the site was listing properties advertised as places to self-isolate.

They included a house in Edinburgh described as being ‘the perfect place to isolate yourself from the coronavirus’.

In response, UK tourism minister Nigel Huddleston said it was ‘incredibly irresponsible and dangerous for some property owners to be marketing themselves as ‘isolation retreats”. 

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