Highland beauty spot adds voice to 'stay away' calls amid growing concern over coronavirus 'safe haven' influx; Chanonry Point tells tourists: 'We beg you, do not visit us now'
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A BLACK Isle beauty spot firmly established as a magnet for visitors from around the world has issued a no-nonsense plea in the face of the coronavirus crisis: "Please stay away."
The intervention is the latest in a string of heartfelt pleas emerging from the Highlands in the wake of reports of an increasing number of visitors from outwith the area coming in holiday homes and in camper vans.
Health and tourism chiefs and politicians have joined forces to reinforce the message, warning that the region is ill-equipped to deal with the potential risk of a rapid spread of Covid-19.
Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council has endorsed comments made on the Chanonry Point Facebook page.
A huge attraction for dolphin-spotters, Chanonry Point has in recent years seen a massive influx of visitors
It states: "If you live outside the Highlands and are thinking of driving north towing a caravan or in a camper van, perhaps as part of a NC500 tour, and visiting Chanonry Point or the Black Isle, please read this post and THINK AGAIN.
"NO visitor attractions are open. Many cafes and restaurants are CLOSED. ALL LOCAL CAMPSITES ARE NOW CLOSED or very soon will be. You will be putting local people at risk by your presence even if you are symptom-free. You will be putting pressure on local shops where the shelves are already bare. You will be putting strain on the NHS: doctors' surgeries and Raigmore Hospital, which has only seven special care unit beds. We have coronavirus in the Highlands already.We are NOT a place to escape to. Do not make it worse by coming here.
"We know you may think of the Black Isle as your second home but this will not be the Black Isle as you know it. Please, please, even if you love it here, DO NOT VISIT US NOW, WE BEG YOU. This is the time when each and every one of us needs to stay in our own home to stop coronavirus from spreading.
"We have a deep tradition of Highland hospitality here and it is so very hard for us to ask you NOT TO COME. Later, when this crisis is over, we will welcome you back with open arms, you know we will.
"Thank you for your understanding. Please share."
The post has been greeted with hundreds of likes and shares and a number of the scores of people commenting have voiced solidarity and confirmed they have cancelled visits. Eric Russell wrote: "Love the Black Isle. Were due to holiday there next week but have cancelled due to current situation hope everyone takes note and follows my example you can always visit at a later date as will be doing wish everyone on Black Isle all the best take care."
Another commented: "This confirms we did the right thing. We were due to stay on Ness Road for a week in a couple of weeks but cancelled it two weeks ago. Pays to follow your instinct sometime. Stay safe folk in your beautiful part of the country and, yes, we will be back."