Holidaymakers try to flee Covid Level 4 hotspots for rural Devon
People living in Covid Level 4 hotspots are trying to book secret getaways in rural Devon to escape the inconvenience of the lockdown.
A holiday home provider in South Devon told DevonLive she had been contacted by a woman who wanted to travel from London with her boyfriend over Christmas – although the capital is under the tightest restrictions due to ‘an explosion of Covid-19 cases.
Lipton Farm was contacted by a woman, named only Sarah, who made a tentative reservation online before explaining that she was from London and adding ‘Are you okay? “
Owner Julie McCombe quickly told the hopeful holidaymaker that she couldn’t accept the booking and that traveling from a virus hotspot to Devon’s level 2 was illegal.
She wants others in the industry to do the same.
She said: “Let’s all stay strong and do the right thing. I’m sure ‘Sarah’ will ask more hosts in this area if it’s okay to stay.”
Julie, who runs a luxury accommodation business on 50 acres of farmland near Totnes, said she received the reservation through Airbnb and therefore was not automatically notified of the address of the anybody.
The first time she heard about it it was a cheerful message from “Sarah” that said, “Hi Julie, I hope you are doing well. My boyfriend and I love your beautiful place. We would love to come stay. I wanted to let you know that we are planning to come from London / Tier 4 … are you okay with that? “
Julie said: “I told her we were on level 2 and therefore it was not allowed and it would be dangerous as well. She seemed to accept it. The fact that she raised the issue in first place shows that she was well aware of the rules but was choosing to ignore them.
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“I’m sure she would have gone to the next location and tried elsewhere.
Julie posted an article about the incident on social media to raise awareness. The response indicates that she is one of many people approached by people from Level 4 areas. Some have pointed out the problem of motorhomes and drivers believing they are “self-sufficient” despite visiting stores and petrol stations.
There is also anecdotal evidence of people arriving at second and vacation homes in the middle of the night and unpacking their luggage in the dark.
Julie says she is now declining all other reservations for January. Like many in the industry, she is hoping for an easing of restrictions in March. She admits times are tough for those whose livelihoods depend on reservations.
She said: “Most companies are trying to limp by taking local reservations. I had to cancel reservations, including a nurse from the Covid Intensive Care Unit in London. She booked for March. loved helping her. It’s very hard but we have to stay strong. “