South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the introduction of new regulations to force the closure of caravan parks during the coronavirus lockdown. The SNP MSP had previously called for their closure following reports that city dwellers were driving long distances with caravans and campervans to try and escape the virus despite warnings that they could be spreading it further.
The regulations, published on Friday, state that caravan parks must close during the emergency period unless they’re providing accommodation for people who are unable to return home, are living there as their main residence, are in the process of moving house or need somewhere to stay to attend a funeral. Exemptions are also permitted for those providing accommodation or support services for the homeless.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“A number of constituents had got in touch to tell me that some caravan parks around the region were continuing to provide pitches and accommodation to visitors, some of whom had travelled long distances from around the UK to get there. I received reports of large groups of people gathering in the parks, socialising and taking walks together.
“Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Environmental Health department have now confirmed that they’ve made contact with 60 caravan sites within the region to advise on the requirements to close. The legislation gives the council, as well as Police Scotland, the authority to enforce the regulations.
“The Scottish Government has announced financial support for caravan parks and self-catering businesses that have to close due to the lockdown. Information on how to apply is available online at www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/ <www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/> or by calling Dumfries and Galloway council on 01387 260280.
“The only way to stop the spread of the virus is to follow guidelines to stay at home and observe social distancing advice. People should only travel if necessary, for example, to buy essential items, care for a vulnerable person or to get to and from work.”