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World heritage attraction shut as police urge holidaymakers to stay away

The Giant’s Causeway is a dramatic area of hexagonal basalt rock columns and one of Northern Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions.

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A lone climber on The Honeycomb at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland (PA)

A lone climber on The Honeycomb at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland (PA)

A lone climber on The Honeycomb at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland (PA)

Police on Northern Ireland’s Unesco World Heritage-ranked north coast have urged people to stay at home this Easter.

The Giant’s Causeway is among National Trust properties which are closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus but its nearby Atlantic cliff-top paths stretch for miles and are unrestricted.

The Causeway coast and its surrounds is normally a popular spot for holidaymakers with the dramatic area of hexagonal basalt rock columns one of the country’s most popular visitor attractions.

Superintendent Jeremy Lindsay said: “With warmer weather forecast and the longer, lighter days following the clocks changing, many people will want to get out and about and enjoy the fresh air this weekend so I am urging everyone to continue to follow the health advice; stay at home to prevent the spread of infection.”

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) urged people to exercise responsibly.

Mr Lindsay added: “The very simple health advice is that you should only leave home when it is absolutely essential and it is encouraging that the vast majority of people do appear to be following the health guidelines.”

The latest regulations allow people to leave home to exercise.

It is a reasonable excuse to travel for the purpose of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services where it is not possible for that person to work or provide those services from their home, police said.

It is also a reasonable excuse to travel for essential matters like seeking medical assistance, obtaining basic necessities including food and medical supplies, providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person, donating blood or attending a funeral of a close family member.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

The police commander added: “The legislation does not, however, provide that you may travel for the purpose of exercise and therefore, like our colleagues in health, we would advise you not to do this.”

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Sean Bateson, said: “This will be an Easter bank holiday weekend like no other and it’s crucial that we continue to do whatever we can to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“Essential travel does not include visits to holiday houses, or caravans. Stay at home, protect yourself, your family, friends, neighbours and the wider community.

“Measures around social distancing and travel are in place to keep us safe, but they will only work if we all play our part.”

PA