A visitor to Barnsley has a booking declined by the owner of a holiday home in Devon
An accommodation owner declined a reservation from a visitor to Barnsley who had planned a weekend stay.
The owner of the Devon holiday rental posted a message on Facebook reporting the request from a visitor who lives in the town of South Yorkshire, which is one of the areas about to enter a level 3 lockdown this weekend as part of the government’s new coronavirus alert system.
They received a call in response to an ad on Airbnb for a double room in Torbay, with the caller wishing to book a weekend from Friday night.
When the owner asked where the caller was from and was told Barnsley the reservation was declined.
DevonLive reported that the appellant then protested that the state of alert did not begin until after midnight on Friday, so it should be accepted.
But the owner upheld her decision before posting a warning on Spotted Torquay’s Facebook page and contacting the Local Democracy Reporting Service to highlight the issue.
The ‘very high’ alert rules that will apply in South Yorkshire require residents to avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK.
Torbay, along with the rest of Devon and the South West region, falls into the lowest ‘medium’ risk category – also known as level one.
The seven-day infection rate for Covid-19 in Barnsley is 423.3 per 100,000.
The government’s new three-tier alert system has medium, high and very high categories, with increasingly stringent restrictions.
Barnsley is one of several areas in South Yorkshire which is expected to go on very high alert from Saturday including Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
Other parts of the country, including Liverpool and Lancashire, are already in the top tier and Manchester will participate from Friday.
In Torbay, the seven-day average on October 17 was 76 cases per 100,000, just below the regional average and less than half the English rate of 169.
Residents of high alert areas including London, parts of the Midlands and the North East are still allowed to travel, and an influx of visitors to Devon is expected during mid-session next week.
Watch: Rules in Level 3 Zones
Some comments on the post on the Spotted Torquay Facebook page praised the decision to decline the reservation.
One said: “They shouldn’t be allowed to bring a deadly virus to Torbay.”
Others have warned that it is inevitable that people from high-risk areas will visit Devon.
One stressed that people need the money from vacation rentals and another said visitors should be encouraged to protect the economy.
Another commenter pointed out that it was difficult for companies to filter bookings if people didn’t say where they were from.
Torbay Director of Public Health Caroline Dimond said there were concerns about visitors to areas with higher infection rates, but so far Torbay has not seen a problem major with imported cases. She said it was important for visitors to follow the hygiene measures in place.
Dr Dimond told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Friday: “We strongly encourage people to make sure they follow all instructions and to remember that even if they come to Torbay we still have cases.
“Our prevalence is much lower but I think it’s important that people don’t think we don’t have a problem, so taking advice is always really, really important and the behavior of people both in the restaurants and pubs but apart from restaurants and pubs remains incredibly important. “