Stirling Council has closed car parks at key rural beauty spots to help enforce social distancing.
Council rural car parks closed to fight Coronavirus

The move comes after popular destinations like Balmaha and Callander witnessed an influx of visitors over the weekend, despite clear and repeated instructions from national government and the NHS for people to avoid all non-essential travel.

Public health at risk

Councillor Jim Thomson, convener for Environment and Housing, said: “The increase in visitor numbers at a time of national emergency has jeopardised public health and put unnecessary strain on these communities.

“The advice to everyone is clear – stay at home and practice social distancing. Those who ignore this are putting lives in danger by increasing the chances of spreading COVID-19 and placing unnecessary pressure on local resources.

“People really need to understand the impact of their actions and act responsibly.”

As of Sunday (22 March) evening, parking at Station Road in Callander and in Balmaha will be prohibited and signs will be placed on the A811 at Drymen advising that public car parks in Balmaha are closed.

The decision follows similar action taken by the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority, which closed all visitor facilities yesterday, to discourage any further travel or overnight visits.

"Stay at home"

Cllr Danny Gibson, vice convener for the Environment, said: “This is an extremely difficult and challenging time for us all. The desire to get outside and get away for a bit is felt by everyone but we can’t put the lives of others in danger by doing so.

“Vital Council and health services are already stretched and the people who keep the infrastructure in these rural areas running are under more pressure than most.

“There is no justification for making that situation worse, so I urge people across Scotland to heed the advice given and stay at home.”

Stay at home advice from the NHS is available online.

A statement from First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, today also backed the important message and can be read in full on the Scottish Government website.