Holiday-makers in Scotland are told to head home
Visitors staying on campsites, caravans and holiday parks in Scotland are being told to return home.
In line with recent advice on Coronavirus announced by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the country's leisure sites are to close immediately to new arrivals including tourers, other transient visitors and holiday lets.
Operators are being informed they should also advise current visitors to return home.
Owners of second homes are also being asked to go back to their main residence.
There have been fears that those from the cities and more populated areas have been heading to remoter regions deemed to be safer, but this has led to concerns that local health care services could be overwhelmed.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “As the Scottish Government has made abundantly clear, this is not the time for holidays, travel or for being away from home.
"Additional visitors, particularly to rural areas and our islands, will put a severe strain on local resources and the NHS which is not set up to cover the need of non-residents long term.
“All those who can safely do so should now return to their primary residence.
"However, I also understand that in some cases residential mobile homes, motorhomes, campervans and holiday lets on a caravan park or tourist site may be someone’s primary home, and that some people will be unable to return to where they usually live.
“Sites should be sympathetic to the circumstances of these individuals, and should, where necessary, remain open on a partial basis for these occupants only.
“We recognise this is an incredibly testing time for the tourism industry and we appreciate the tremendous effort under way by businesses, large and small, within the sector to respond.
"I am therefore grateful to the business organisations that represent campsites, holiday parks, caravan sites, and motorhome hire businesses for supporting their members to close at this difficult time.
”We look forward to welcoming visitors back to campsites, caravan and holiday parks in Scotland when it is safe to do so.”
Jeanette Wilson, Policy Director of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association in Scotland, said: "Our members in Scotland have already closed their holiday and touring parks with great sadness, yet they are glad to contribute to the fight against the virus.
"They are grateful to the Scottish Government for their support in this process and sensitivity to the individual circumstances of park customers."
Catherine Bunn represents the Campervan and Motorhome Professional Association (CaMPA).
She said: “Many of our members have already taken action to ground their hire fleets but we have asked any hire companies with vehicles still out, to recall them back to base with immediate effect.
"We are asking all motorhome owners across the country to only use their motorhomes for essential journeys – now is not the time to take a holiday or even a day trip.
"We urge the rest of the hospitality sector to follow suit.
"Visitors staying in pods, lodges, self-catering and static caravans should all be encouraged to return home immediately, even if that means curtailing a holiday.
"We will be delighted to welcome visitors back when Scotland re-opens, but for now, to protect our vulnerable communities, the hospitality industry must take unified immediate action.”