THE MP for Wells has urged caravan and second home owners to stay away from the coast during the coronavirus crisis. 

In an open letter posted on Facebook on Sunday (March 22) James Heappey, MP for Wells, appealed to visitors to avoid heading to beaches and holiday parks in Burnham-on-Sea, Berrow and Brean to avoid spreading the deadly virus to protect the NHS.

The letter comes after hundreds of people across the UK filled parks and beaches at the weekend.

The letter said: "Dear caravan and second home owners in Somerset,

"We’re all really proud of our local tourism industry and our visitor economy is a really important part of Somerset’s economy as a whole.

"But sadly, we really need people to stay away whilst the country reacts to Covid-19.

"That’s not because our local supermarkets can’t cope; they can.

"Nor because outsiders risk bringing infection; we’re all potential spreaders so social distancing applies to those of us who live here just as much as it would to those visiting from elsewhere.

"The real reason is because so much of the planning for our response to Covid-19 is based on patient lists for GP surgeries.

"If you’re at home, your GP knows you. The clinical commissioning group and local NHS trusts therefore know you.

"And they’ll be planning, with the local councils, to make sure there’s support in place to look after you if you fall ill.

"However, if you’re here at your caravan or second home in Somerset, we won’t know those things.

"Our GPs won’t be keeping an eye out for you. And our local NHS won’t be planning for the additional resources needed to look after you.

"We love that you come here regularly just as much as you love being here. We’re grateful for all the money you spend in local businesses.

"And we’re proud that Somerset is such a wonderful place to visit.

"Thank you for your custom and please make sure you come back when this is all over.

"Our holiday parks, tourism sites and local businesses will really need your support.

"The beaches, hills, levels, cider, cheddar and amazing heritage sites will all still be here when Covid-19 is beaten.

"For the time being, please, stay home, protect our NHS, and save lives.

"Thank you."