‘It’s not freedom day for locals’: tourist hotspots wary of 19 July invasion

Local residents and business owners in tourist hotspots across England say they are dreading an influx of unmasked, non-socially distanced visitors after the 19 July “freedom day”.

The date marks the end of social distancing rules, mandatory face coverings and the ‘rule of six’ in England – though individual venues will be able to set their own rules.

Fully vaccinated people and those under 18 in Inghilterra will not have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive for Covid from 16 agosto.

Emilia, a 34-year-old writer who lives in Truro in Cornovaglia, disse: “It’s not freedom day for locals; it’s freedom for tourists to make us scared and housebound.

“I watched the 60,000 football fans at Wembley this week and wondered how many of them have booked to come to Cornwall in two weeks’ time," lei ha aggiunto. “I feel like we’re about to be invaded.”

Both Emily and her parents, who live nearby, have health issues. “We’re all double-vaxed, but there’s still a risk of getting Covid and there’s the massive fear of long Covid," lei disse. “I could have coped if the masks and social distancing had stayed in place, but now we’re going to have to hole up for the whole summer.”

Will Gould, a chef and owner of the Watch House in St Mawes e RoBo in Falmouth, described the “feeling of fear” felt by his staff when dealing with customers wearing no protection in two weeks’ time.

“It’s not freedom for us as a business, either," Ha aggiunto. “If one of our staff gets Covid from these unprotected tourists, we have to shut the whole restaurant," Egli ha detto. “The government doesn’t cover the cost of that.”

Doug Marshall, who lives in Newquay and co-founded Altaura, an international sound design agency, was conflicted. “Cornwall has absolutely no choice but to open up to tourists," Egli ha detto.

tuttavia, Suzie Sinclair, a co-owner of the Newlyn Filmhouse, has a solution: she is going to try to mitigate the risk by avoiding attracting too many tourists to her cinema.

“Our solution is to focus on our local audience for the summer and choose films that appeal to them. We won’t be showing any blockbuster kids’ films, ad esempio," lei disse.

Laura Totten, who bought the Crown pub in Uppingham, Rutland, l'anno scorso, said that freedom day could kill her business. “If one of my very small team gets Covid I have to shut down, but as all my bills will still be going out and the government won’t be supporting me, there’s a very real chance that will be the end of my business.”

Even if the pub manages to stay open, Totten said, her business would be at risk. “My team’s health is my responsibility and until they’re all vaccinated – and lots are very young, so are completely unvaccinated now – I need to ask customers to wear masks at the bar.

“But because that’s something I’m choosing to do rather than just following government orders, I’m nervous that there will be a significant number of customers who feel we’re not welcoming and will chose to go elsewhere.”

Tom Conway, who co-owns the Seven Tuns pub near Cirencester, disse: “It’s now or never.”

Ha aggiunto: “We’re blessed with a large space and huge terrace. We’ve all been double vaccinated and there are very few cases in this area anyway.

“I don’t know anyone who has had long Covid so I’m looking forward to July 19th. It’s time to get back to a bit of normality.”

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