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Zoos open but crime meeting cancelled

A police meeting in the South Hams to discuss concerns over crime has been cancelled - while Torbay's zoos are remaining open.

It was due to take place on Friday at Kingsbridge's Dodbrook Church Hall and be attended by the local MP.

The force say neighbourhood teams still remain active in the area, despite the virus.

The charity which runs Paignton Zoo and Torquay's Living Coasts says it will be remaining open.

While many places are closing, Wild Planet says they are both sites where people can walk about outside.

The staff are currently being trained to cover other roles in case they're needed.

National Trust sites - across the country - are also remaining open. Although, they're closing things like their shops and cafes and just keeping the grounds open.

The Bovey Tracey Craft Festival has been delayed until September 11.

Paul Netherton OBE is the Deputy Chief Constable for Devon & Cornwall Police and national lead for contingency planning and resilience.

He posted online this morning: "I am heading to London to answer questions from MPs at the Home Affairs Select Committee on Covid19 and the preparations the police have in place to ensure we can deliver our core role of protecting the public, maintaining the Queen’s peace and preventing and detecting crime."

Yesterday it was announced the Devon County Show was being delayed.

The South West currently has 95 active cases of the virus with 24 across the Devon County Council area, six in Torbay and two in Plymouth.

Wild Planet Trust
The three South West zoos run by regional conservation charity Wild Planet Trust have a defiant message for coronavirus: “It’s business as usual”. Staff and volunteers are prepared for the impact of coronavirus, but at this time the charity zoos remain open. Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “We’re monitoring the situation closely and will naturally continue to follow the advice of Public Health England and the Government. We will close if directed or if we no longer have the people to operate safely, but right now WE ARE OPEN! “Our three zoos, Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall - are mainly open-air sites where you can walk among nature. As spring blossoms and the sun shines, people will want to be out and about. They also want something positive to cling to. They want to keep hearing good news stories. If you have doubts, don’t visit – but if you want a break from the worry and the uncertainty and are after fresh air, wildlife and wild places, then come and see us!” Zoo volunteers, some of whom are older, are getting reassurance and advice – but often, the boost gained from volunteering and being sociable is more important than concerns about infection. Meanwhile, some staff are training to cover other roles within the charity in case people are off sick. He added: “We intend to treat our guests like adults and allow them to make the decision about whether to use our catering facilities, for example, or not. On busy days we will open external outlets such as kiosks for those who wish to avoid being in an indoor space and within our restaurants we will extend the ‘social distance’ between seats to allow some comfort to those who choose to remain inside. We’ll keep talking to our guests, our staff and our volunteers to inform them and encourage them.”
Coronavirus measures:

  • Talks for guests suspended
  • Cancelling some events and meetings
  • More space between tables in restaurant
  • Use outdoor space for catering when possible
  • No face-painting
  • Information and reassurance for staff and volunteers


Kingsbridge Police
Some of you may have been planning to attend a meeting at Dodbrook Church Hall on the Friday 20th March to discuss Crime and other conerns with our Neighbourhood Sgt, PS James Timmis, and Anthony Mangall MP for Totnes. That meeting, for obvous reasons, is cancelled. Please be reassured that crime figures are significantly lower than at this time last year and that currently response and neighbourhood teams from Kingsbridge Police Station continue to provide service as usual. There will always be issues that arises and crimes that are committed, but please be reassured this is one of the safest communities to live in. Please continue to follow the advice from NHS and Government and please remember that all services are under enourmous pressure at this time. I've seen numerous offers to help people from individuals and businesses alike, showing tremendous community spirit. Look after yourselves, look after your families, friends and neighbours and we'll do all we can to look after you, our community too.

Bovey Tracey Craft Festival
Sarah Jame, Craft Festival Director, said: "Having taken independent, professional advice, we have decided, with great sadness to postpone Craft Festival Bovey Tracey until 11-13 September. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused but I hope you understand that it's been a very difficult decision to make but we feel it's the best decision for everyone. We have contacted all exhibitors and ticket holders. Your tickets are valid for the event you have booked, with the new dates. You do not need to do anything. We are currently in the process of re-scheduling all the workshops, so please bear with us as we make new arrangements. We will be working remotely for 2 weeks and we ask for your patience at this difficult time and we look forward to welcoming you later in the year. All of us at The Craft Festival Team would like to thank you all sincerely for your support. We offer our heartfelt thanks to all exhibitors, visitors, workshop leaders, demonstrators, musicians, food sellers, contractors, sponsors, volunteers and Craft Festival staff for your understanding and support."

Devon County Show
The Board of Directors of three major agricultural events in the South West - Devon County Show, The Royal Bath & West Show and The Royal Cornwall Show, have today announced the postponement of their events due to the increased threat of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Following the Government’s guidance press conference on 12th March, it is clear that COVID-19 will still be very active within our communities during May and June so the three Shows feel it is the most responsible action to reschedule to protect their visitors, traders and exhibitors from the spread of the virus.  Whilst the Boards of each show admit this is an extremely difficult decision to make and appreciate the disruption and disappointment the postponement may cause, it has been unanimously agreed that the Shows’ absolute priorities must lie, at this time of uncertainty, with the protection of public health.  The three shows all of which were scheduled to take place in Spring, will be postponed until:

  • 31st July, 1st & 2nd August – The Royal Bath & West Show
  • 28th, 29th & 30th August – Devon County Show
  • 10th, 11th & 12th September – The Royal Cornwall Show

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