The National Park is loved by many and everyone has a right to enjoy this special place. We know that the best way for everyone to enjoy the Park is to act safely and to respect the area as both a beautiful place to experience the outdoors and as a living, working community.
As lockdown restrictions ease further and we prepare to welcome more visitors back to the Park, we have developed some principles to encourage confidence for everyone who uses and enjoys the National Park to play their role in moving out of lockdown safely together.
Respect your park
Respect the Park as a living community: The National Park is a respected place for outstanding beauty and access to the outdoors, however it should also be respected as a home to thousands of people who live and work here.
Mutual respect: Showing respect includes having a mutual understanding for everyone who uses and enjoys the National Park. Visitors play a huge role in boosting our local economy. Businesses support those visiting the area and are also a core part of local communities, supporting green initiatives and providing opportunities such as jobs and services. Residents and communities who live in the National Park are the lifeblood of this special place and take pride in living here.
Think, Check, Plan: While the National Park begins to reopen again, everyone can show their respect by considering how they plan to use and enjoy the area in advance:
Visitors should think through their visit before arriving (is it appropriate for you to travel to the National Park at this time), check what facilities are open (you can do this on our car parks and toilets page) and plan accordingly (including bringing bags to take your litter home, finding out which toilet or parking facilities are available and remembering to ‘go’ before you go). This also means having a ‘Plan B’ in mind if the destination you wanted to visit is busy and you cannot visit safely.
Local residents can also use our facilities checker to see what sites are open and how busy they are before setting out for exercise or recreation.
This service can also be used by businesses to provide suggestions to their customers on where to visit.
Know the guidelines: We are asking everyone who uses the National Park to understand and adhere to the guidance on how to keep themselves and others around them safe while enjoying the National Park.
Taking action: Public bodies who operate within the National Park are working hard to ensure that public spaces and facilities are managed as safely as possible. They will continue to make information available so that visitors, businesses and communities can plan for their experience while also providing up-to-date advice after Government announcements. Businesses are also taking steps to operate in line with current safety guidance and implementing measures to ensure the continued safety of their staff, customers, and the communities around them (see more below).
Being responsible: Everyone has a role to play in ensuring their own safety and the safety of those around them. This means respecting social distancing and hygiene measures and also helping us to encourage and promote safe behaviour.
The National Park Authority continues to support everyone who uses the National Park to uphold and embody these principles when enjoying this special place. Show your support for these principles and your commitment to the safety of all National Park users by downloading the signs and materials below to encourage everyone to respect the Park.
What are we doing to support communities and businesses?
Bringing people together: Along with regular written updates and virtual verbal briefings with businesses, partners and communities, we have also created place-based virtual forums for key hotspots in the National Park. These forums bring together public bodies, businesses and community representatives from key areas to listen to issues and create a dialogue about how we can better work together to manage and support them.
Online tools: We have created a digital Coronavirus advice hub, with specific advice for businesses, communities and visitors, as well as a central location for information on the status of sites and facilities for all those within the National Park. This webpage is updated daily with more information on the sites that are reopening and is being being updated with live information on how busy sites and areas of the National Park are during weekends and peak times. This enables users to make decisions about where to visit should specific areas of the Park be too busy.
Communities in the Park
Communities in the National Park have worked hard to stay safe and look after one another throughout lockdown. They have provided speedy, innovative and vital responses to the pandemic, and hundreds of new and existing volunteers came forward to help their neighbours and develop local Resilience Groups.
As we ease out of lockdown and the National Park gradually reopens, we understand that communities may feel anxious or have concerns about the number of people who are able to visit the area again. Many of their residents are vulnerable, older or are still shielding. However, communities are also keen to see the local economy re-start; they know businesses and supply chains employ local people and provide valuable services.
Community Councils and Community Development Trusts are actively involved in representing community views and working with public bodies such as the National Park as we begin reopen sites and facilities following lockdown. They are crucial to understanding and monitoring what’s happening on the ground as we ease out of Lockdown. Read more information on the role of these groups and how to contact them, as well as specific guidance for National Park communities during the pandemic.
Communities can show their support for their local businesses and encourage everyone to adhere to our principles by downloading and displaying the signage materials below in the local areas and on websites for community groups.
Business in the Park
Tourism is a huge part of our rural economy as shown in the video below, and we need to support tourism in the National Park if our local businesses are to survive and continue to thrive.
Tourism businesses are taking big steps to not only encourage confidence for customers but also provide assurances to communities that the tourism sector is doing it all it can to protect those who live and work in the area. Here are some of the steps businesses are taking:
Providing information to customers via websites, booking confirmations or this party booking agents about what customers should expect on their arrival. This includes measures in place around social distancing and changes in facilities and operations to meet the national guidelines.
Good To Go scheme – this national self-accredited scheme is an excellent way for businesses to demonstrate that they have complied with industry standard procedures and have taken the required steps to adapt facilities and ways of working. After completing the online approval process, businesses can download signage to display on their premises to show their commitment to the safety of their staff, customers and the communities around them. Further support from VisitScotland allows the business listing page to be updated to show they are open and to include the Good to Go logo.
Staff training – customer-facing staff can be effective in ensuring that visitors are aware of any local restrictions and how to comply with national guidelines. Businesses should share the content of their Covid-19 risk assessments and provide information to staff to ensure that they are aware of all new measures being introduced. Staff can also share their local knowledge with customers about popular areas, to help them make an informed choice about where to visit.
Venue notices – it is good practice for businesses to display signage to remind customers to comply with national guidance. This might include hygiene reminders for people to wash their hands or to alert them to the location of hand sanitizer stations; signage about reduced venue capacities or operation signage around social distancing or queues or one-way systems.
Businesses can also show their commitment to the safety of their customers and communities and encourage everyone to adhere to our ‘respect’ principles by downloading and displaying the signage materials below on their premises.