Visitors flock to Newcastle and the Covid-19 regulations are largely ignored.
Mournes Sinn Féin Cllr Willie Clarke has raised his concerns with Council Directors following the large increase of visitors to Newcastle and surrounding natural attractions, including Bloody Bridge, Murlough beach, Keel point, Head Road,Tollymore Forest park at the weekend.
Cllr Clarke said: “In recent weeks we have seen a significant rise in visitors to Newcastle and the growing concern of the local community is that many visitors are too relaxed when it comes to adhering to Covid-19 guidelines on social distancing and face masks.
“I have emphasised that there needs to be better coordination between police, Council, DFI Roads, the provision of cones have helped deter illegal parking.
“However, last weekend, Trassey Road and Bloody Bridge cones were removed by police, the provision of cones need to be provided all year. I have asked Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chief Executive Marie Ward to ensure police are stopping non-essential travel and are monitoring our tourism hotspots.
“I am working with a local landowner at Bloody Bridge at Newcastle and our Council to potentially provide additional car parking spaces at this popular attraction.”
Cllr Clarke added: “This lack of compliance not only puts the immediate person at risk, but also the frontline hospitality staff, retail workers and the local community and further easing of restrictions.
“Local residents have made major sacrifices to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in their community. We need to ensure visitors adhere to social distancing, wash their hands and wear masks while visiting Newcastle and for essential travel.”