July 4 is being earmarked for the re-opening of Torbay’s tourism industry with a clear ‘we will be responsible’ message.

With the potential re-opening of the Bay’s tourism and hospital industry just a few weeks away, tourism leader Carolyn Custerson has sent out a ‘we will be ready – and responsible’ message.

July 4 and American Independence Day has been earmarked for the day the resort’s biggest business sector can be brought back to life – subject to the final go-ahead from the government.

But English Riviera BID Company chief executive Mrs Custerson and the holiday businesses know that the challenge now will be to convince locals and visitors that the Bay’s facilities, including its attractions, will be safe to visit after weeks of Coronavirus lockdown.

They have adopted a ‘Responsible Riviera’ mantra to get that message across especially to residents, emphasising the resort will be responsible and wants to welcome responsible visitors.

The industry was forced to close its doors on March 23. A potential lifting of the shutdown to trade in what is left of the summer season is seen as a vital lifeline for the industry. Without it some long-established businesses may never recover.

Mrs Custerson says: “July 4 is the moment which has been patiently waited for with businesses in this sector the first to be closed by Government and the last to be potentially re-opened. We know that there is concern, particularly from residents, about the re-opening. We want to reassure them that we will be acting responsibly.”

She said that last week draft Government Guidelines were circulated to all ERBID Tourism and Hospitality businesses detailing a range of COVID – Secure ‘Controls’ that must be introduced before any business can re-open, along with a Risk Assessment.

Mrs Custerson said: “These ‘Controls’ focus on the safety of employers, employees and customers with businesses that are hoping to re-open adapting their businesses to accommodate them.

“Trying to salvage some of the summer income is critical with many local businesses closed since last October. Without any summer income our tourism businesses will have to endure, in effect, ‘three winters’ and could stay permanently closed.”

She added: “Many businesses will, sadly, not be able to meet the guidelines and will have to stay closed for the time being because the two-metre Social Distancing rule cannot be accommodated. It is those businesses that we are particularly concerned about and we will continue to lobby for continued financial support.”

She appealed: “Please be assured that we know that we need to be cautious. We want to work with residents, businesses and partners together to safely re-open the English Riviera.

“We all need ‘Responsible Tourists’ to return so that we can begin a long road to recovery.”

*Over the next few weeks, the Torbay Weekly will be working with the BID company to show how tourism businesses have risen to the COVID-Secure Resort challenge and will be Ready and Responsible.

Story by Jim Parker in Torbay Weekly
Reproduced by kind permission of author/publisher