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Our region's tourist sector 'needs more help'

The Government is being urged to offer extra support to tourism businesses which are being told to remain shut.

The South West Tourism Alliance says many will struggle if they have to remain closed until at least July and should get help.

Chair Alistair Handyside (pictured) believes places with large outdoor spaces should be allowed to partially reopen earlier - including pubs and country houses with large gardens - if they can safely ensure social distancing.

The Devon Association of Tourist Attractions say members will struggle to make ends meet if they only partially reopen  - when it is safe to do so - and warn the ongoing closure is affecting their wider supply chains. Past Chairman Chris Murray, who owns Pennywell Farm, says tourist attractions are under a great deal of pressure at the moment.

On Monday the Leader of Torbay Council suggested - when it was safe to do so in the next phase of lockdown easing - that the South West could see some restrictions lifted earlier than other areas which were harder hit by the virus. Steve Darling called on the Government to look into the idea as they consider the next steps for going forward

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