Coronavirus: Staycations Expected To Boost Holiday Traffic

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Reading and Leeds festivals are turned off and Notting Hill Carnival takes place online, but car organizations are planning a far from quiet August bank holiday weekend.

RAC research suggests that around 18 million trips will be made by car, 1.8 million more than last year.

He says the increase is likely due to more people returning home after taking breaks in the UK due to the pandemic.

Forecasters say temperatures over the four days will be below average.

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Research for the RAC suggests there could still be heavy traffic on popular routes this weekend as people leave for breaks, day trips, or return home from stays.

The automotive organization said Friday is expected to see the highest volume of cars on the road with around 5.6 million separate trips, with 4.7 million on Saturday, 3.7 million on Sunday and 4.4 million on Monday public holiday. . It will be a public holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Official government statistics and our own data from insurance customers show weekend traffic has now returned to pre-foreclosure levels.

“So it’s clear that despite the pandemic, the car played a vital role in ensuring that many people were able to enjoy the summer safely. ”

He added that the traffic “could even turn out to be more crowded on the roads than last year with many more people returning home this weekend after a stay”.

Delays and hotspots

The AA predicts that queues on popular road stretches to tourist spots will likely cause delays, but says that with many events canceled and sport taking place behind closed gates, local roads should be calmer.

Among the hot spots reported by the RAC on Friday morning were the M5 south near Portishead, and the M5 and A30 at Exeter, heading south-west.

It comes as Devon and Cornwall Police urge tourists to the area to ‘respect communities’ over the weekend.

“Thousands of visitors, some of whom are already in the area, are expected to reside in the counties during the three-day vacation with congested roads and the demand on all emergency services resources is expected to be high,” the said. strength.

“Tourism bosses are already predicting that the area is at full capacity, so the message to all visitors is to book in advance and plan your trip, to expect delays on the road network, and when you come, support and benefit from the local economy, but do it. respectfully. ”

While some areas are expected to be occupied, the total number of people leaving on this holiday is expected to be down 44% from 2019 – mainly due to fewer visits to cities.

4.8 million people planned to spend the night between Friday and Monday – up from 8.6 million last year, according to a survey by Visit Britain.

Patricia Yates, director of the tourism agency, told the BBC that while resorts and national parks were to be occupied, businesses in cities were still affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

She said, “People are nervous about using public transportation and going to indoor attractions. “

Festival changes

Liam Gallagher, Stormzy and Rage Against The Machine were slated to cover Reading and Leeds music festivals this year, but they were canceled in May due to the pandemic.

And for the first time in 54 years of history, the Notting Hill Carnival is expected to take place virtually. The music and performances typically performed on the streets of West London have been recorded in studios and will be shown on the festival’s website.

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Notting Hill Carnival Goes Virtual This Year – With Filmed Performance Streaming Online


Matthew Phillip, the festival’s executive director, urges people to enjoy the event “safe at home” and cautioned people against coming to the area for a street party.

He said: “We would ask them to respect the carnival, to respect the community and also to respect the health and well-being of the people who have been affected by this pandemic. ”

But in London, Met Police said 4,500 officers would be on duty this weekend amid concerns that coronavirus rules on social distancing and face coverings were being violated in illegal raves.

New laws have come into force in England and Wales following a recent increase in illegal events which means organizers of gatherings of more than 30 people can be fined up to £ 10,000.

Lower temperatures

Meteorologists say temperatures are expected to be below average for the time of year.

The Met Office says highs will range from 14 to 19C this weekend, with the highest temperatures in London, although parts of Scotland are colder – reaching 11C in some areas, although below the average of 16 ° C usually observed in the country at this time. of the year.

BBC Weather presenter Sarah Keith-Lucas said heavy rains and winds had caused flooding in many parts of the UK this week and would continue to affect Wales, the Midlands and the south from England on Friday.

A northerly wind will bring further showers to northern Scotland and the east coast of England and south-east England on Saturday but is expected to start to ease later in the weekend.

On Monday, it appears largely dry and less windy and cooler than it has been, she added.

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