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Shropshire tourism hotspots to stay open amid coronavirus concerns

By Mat Growcott | Ironbridge | Attractions | Published:

Tourism hotspots in Shropshire are working to stay open amid coronavirus fears.

Nick Ralls, CEO of The Ironbridge Museums Trust

The Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust and Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom will be remaining open until further notice.

But organisers of one-off events are looking into whether to cancel, with the people behind Newport's popular Charter Fair already deciding not to go ahead.

Nick Ralls, CEO of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said: "We are listening to the Government's response and the guidance being issued.

"But at the moment it is business as usual, including our events which we have got coming up, which will go ahead.

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"Our staff, if they have got the two main symptoms – the cough and high temperature – they are being advised to stay at home.

"For our visitors, you will see more signage around in relation to washing your hands and there will be hand sanitiser on our counters as you come in.

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"We are also washing down our interactive exhibits on a more regular basis."

In a coronavirus 'FAQ' on Facebook, Hoo Farm said it would be remaining open.

"At present we have no intention of closing but we will obviously follow government advice," they wrote.

"Being a zoo we already have to enforce strict handwashing procedures with our staff and also advise that customers wash their hands thoroughly and don't touch their face.

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"We have had these procedures in place for 25 years and these are also the same advice given to help avoid Covid-19. In addition we have also stepped up our wash point checks and will be adding the below sign to each wash point next week."

Newport Charter Fair cancelled

Organisers of Newport's long-running charter fair have made the decision to cancel this year's event due to concerns about coronavirus.

The fair was set to take place over the weekend of May 8 to 10, but after talks with medical staff they have decided to hold it back.

A statement from those behind the event said: "In the view of the organisers, the potential risk of the Coronavirus Covid-19 to the numbers who normally attend this event, and especially to the residents of all ages in Newport, is too great to countenance and therefore, it is with regret that we are cancelling this year's event.

"It is intended that the St Nicholas Christmas Fair, which supports the Newport Town Council's Christmas Light Switch-On, will go ahead as planned."

Organisers said it had been a difficult decision to cancel this year's event, but that it would return in 2021.

"We took the decision to cancel the fair before the Government issued advice on events," they said.

"We feel that our decision has been reinforced by the latest pronouncements about events being cancelled around the world."

No plans yet to close theatres

There are currently no plans to shut theatres and leisure centres across the county because of coronavirus concerns.

Both Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire councils say there are no plans to cancel shows or planned event. But both said they were monitoring the situation and would be updating the public if the situation changes based on Government guidelines.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said: “Shropshire Council is not currently asking buildings to close; theatres or leisure centres. We are continuing to follow Government guidelines.”

A spokesman for Telford & Wrekin Council said: “We are continuing to follow national guidance.”

Food shop shut to walk-in trade

Owners of a small shop in south Shropshire will close part of their business due to concerns over coronavirus, saying it would be “irresponsible” to carry on.

Marlon’s at No. 19 in Bishop’s Castle has made the decision to close to walk-ins but still trade as a takeaway service.

Owner Liz Moran said she had been unable to source hand sanitiser for the shop and couldn’t provide effective hand washing for customers due to the size of the shop, which provides homemade food and meals.

She said: “It is a really difficult decision but it is about responsibility.”

BMX team miss out on big race

Disappointed youngsters from a new Shropshire BMX race team will have to wait for their debut European race because of coronavirus.

Riders from Bulldog BMX Racing, which was launched by Bulldog Security Products in Much Wenlock this month, were due to compete in Rounds 1 and 2 of the European Cup in Verona, Italy, at the end of the month.

The four riders include Eddie and Archie Smallman, aged 10 and eight, from Lawley, Telford .

Ian Jordan, Bulldog BMX Racing team manager, said: “It is disappointing as I know how much they were looking forward to it.”

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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