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St Ives in Cornwall among towns to shut down roads to help social-distancing when tourists return

One of the UK’s most high profile tourist spots is shutting down roads in order to assist social distancing as the masses arrive to squeeze in a summer holiday.

St Ives in Cornwall is expected to be bristling with tourists once more in the coming weeks, after the Government gave the green light for the UK’s travel industry to get back up and running on July 4.

Bookings are already rising for staycations as people look to make the both of the combination of lockdown easing and good weather. St Ives plans to combat this by making all roads vehicle-free between the hours of 11am-4pm, as report the Telegraph.

The winding, narrow streets of the picturesque Cornish town are well known for causing large queues and pile-ups, as the thousands of daily tourists battle to squeeze around cars on the cobbled walkways.

Such scenarios in the coming weeks would pose an immediate risk of potential covid-19 transmission, with social distancing measures near impossible to execute.

Decisions have been made therefore to removes all vehicles from the streets in the central area of the town during core day-time hours, aside from emergency and essential vehicles.

‘The proposed road closure will start from the Tregenna Place and Gabriel Street junction (or library corner as it is known locally),’ St Ives Town Council confirmed in a statement.

‘The barrier will run across Tregenna Place, opposite Wetherspoons. This will keep the three-road junction at library corner flowing and maximise the ability of vehicles to leave without entering the zone. 

‘All residents who have a home in the zone, provided they have the vehicle registered at the address will be issued a permit.’ 

Ron Johns, owner of St Ives Bookseller, told the Telegraph: ‘I have no idea if it’s going to work or not, well it has to work’. 

Despite this however he feels the action taken will ‘definitely’ make it easier to uphold social distancing ‘because the streets are very narrow in Cornwall.’

Many tourist hotspots around the UK are set to follow suit, with several having already made alterations to road systems in order to best facilitate visitors. They include;


St Ives follows in the footsteps of other popular destinations nearby including Falmouth.

Located on the peninsular’s opposite coast, a number of streets have been closed in the town centre for several hours a day since June 15 and will continue to run as such throughout the re-opening of the tourism season.


Pavements are being widened on some 13 streets including Camden Road, Manvers Street, Monmouth Street and Moorland Road, in order to accommodate the return of shoppers.

Thousands of visitors each year flood to the quaint Somerset city, to take in the unique architecture and visit the world famous Roman Baths. 

Restrictions will be in place from 10am to 6pm each day.

A one-way pedestrian flow system has been implemented on the city centre’s busiest streets, in order to avoid severe congestion.

A cycle-popular city, bicycle lanes are now being widened throughout, to encourage cycle travel further still. 

Widened footways and enforced pedestrian areas are now becoming common place as, like Oxford, Cambridge looks to keep tabs on its high tourist population.

One-way access to narrow passageways in the city centre will be implemented, in order to stop bottlenecks and mass convergences.

Systems will also be placed around the University collage buildings, popular with visitors hoping to take photographs.

The local council have outlined a number of proposals to close a number of streets with ‘a challenging combination of narrow footpaths, small premises and high demand’ from July 1.

Residents of the north Tyneside area received a letter in which they were given prior warning of the plans, to come into place ‘in time for the start of the busy summer season’.

Park View in the seaside town of Whitley Bay and North Shields Fish Quay are among those included.

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