These are some of the responses we collated from our community and business members in response to the impact of Covid… you will know this is the case, because this no doubt happened to people and businesses in whichever place you’re reading this from. Art galleries, campsites, B&Bs, self catering, guided tours, food business: all declared catastrophic crash in footfall, bookings and income.
It’s been tough.
and just to remind ourselves about the timing
July to September 2019: project start up
October to December 2019: initial community involvement
January to March 2020: full complement of staff and delivery partners begin, and kick off the business network development
March to June 2020: full lockdown
July to Sept 2020: social distancing and restrictions on gatherings
October to December 2020: lockdown and then the tiers system
January to March 2021: lockdown
March to June 2021: lockdown with some gatherings allowed
Photo: Perran Tremewan
Photo: Perran Tremewan
Photo: Perran Tremewan
and when visitors came, it wasn't anything like business as usual ...
We asked what local community members and businesses had noticed about visitor behaviour:
❝We don't have any!
Rude short tempered impatient entitled
Different demographic. More needy, less familiar with and less respect for the dangers of the Cornish sea, tides, rips, cliffs, narrow lanes, adders, lack of bins, pavements etc. More likely to defecate and leave rubbish on coast path….
Initially some visitors and second home owners deliberately came down to the Pendeen area to isolate or holiday. Although things have now calmed a little there are still visitors about and some are not obeying the essential travel guidance ( the local coves and car parks at Pendeen Lighthouse still have people driving down). The police did try to monitor the situation over the Easter weekend, but are not monitoring currently. The local village shop has had to put in a 'two people at a time' restriction in place as people were not following the 2m distancing inside. Anecdotally, the shop staff too are seeing/serving visitors on a very regular basis
Some are quite agressive - challenging the essential travel rules
When trying to cancel bookings some of the older customers were being very pedantic - some saying they will be coming regardless. unless it is illegal to. Feisty responses from customers. Especially from Over 70's who are feeling they are being told what to do
Because guests are not able to get out to eat etc they are focussing on every detail inside the properties and producing feedback as though they were on Four in a Bed
We had planned to put our visitor hubs and information points into St Just Library and the Centre for Pendeen. Covid closed them. We commissioned a smorgasbord of cultural events; Covid cancelled them. Furlough, delivery partners refocusing their priorities on their own businesses, suppliers not being available or backlogged, travel restrictions and public gathering restrictions along with our local businesses having to refocus their energy on uncertainty and our communities wanting to stay safe – our timeline for delivery had to be completely re-imagined. So we did.
Then when things opened up enough to welcome visitors, things were still upside down for vistors and host communities alike, and not all the behaviour was great. As well as the usual work involved in welcoming our (much missed) visitors, we found ourselves confronted by new behaviours. We built and replaced signs (repeatedly), hunted down newly installed missing street furniture, cleaned up plastic waste to stop it killing and harming wildlife, such as our fantastic birds of prey; cleared away and disposed of food debris, clothes, tents and what happens when people fly camp in places without toilets.
(Yup, it’s as bad as you thought).
We drew lines on lanes to ask people not to block emergency access, worked with local safety partnership officers, used facebook and twitter and word of mouth to help people make more good decisions than poor ones when it comes to camping illegally overnight. We guarded seal pups from people who did not know they have to stay well clear or they risk their mother abandoning them, pulled seals from fish nets and ropes and clear of rocks. We hunted down scarce information when everything was so confusing so people knew what and how to clean their accommodation and equipment, and tried to plan ahead – essentially the same as knitting fog. In the dark.
But we kept each other’s spirits high, and kept the information moving between cottage owners, pubs, shops, farms, attractions, cafes, artists, community support agencies, our creative and heritage and landscape partners, the Council, local partnerships, councillors, and The National Trust.
If this could kill us or make us stronger, we knew which one we preferred. We knew from our surveys that on top of covid trouble, over 50% of respondents also cited climate change as a threat; and approximately 40% of respondents cited Brexit.
Yet over 80% were positive about the future. We are *very* resilient on the Tin Coast!