Police and council leaders are urging residents and visitors to play their part in keeping the region safe this summer.

With hospitality and tourism centre businesses having reopened, and schools closing for the summer, Devon is gearing up for the peak holiday season.

Now, leaders are urging visitors and residents alike to keep following guidance to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

That means continuing to observe social distancing guidance, getting tested if you have symptoms, washing hands regularly, wearing face coverings where appropriate, and making use of hand sanitiser wherever it is available.

Devon County Council leader, Councillor John Hart, said: “Local businesses, communities and the wider public have done a fantastic job in respecting the rules and putting the right measures in place in order to get open for business and help life get back to as normal as possible.

“None more so than those in the tourism and leisure industry which is so vital to our local economy and jobs where we have all worked together to ensure things can reopen safely.

“But we do not want to see the number of cases starting to rise again and local restrictions return. This means we all have to take personal responsibility, use our common sense and keep following the rules.

“And in Devon, the county council will be working closely across health, the police, with communities and businesses to keep a very close eye on the situation going forwards to make sure we track any new cases and act fast if we see any potential hotspots that might signal a return of the virus.”

Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Superintendent Matt Lawler said more officers will be on patrol throughout the region, particularly near beaches and waterways.

He said: “As anticipated, we are now starting to see an increase in local people out and about and tourists visiting the counties.

“I would like to thank the vast majority of people who continue to adhere to Government and health guidance and we are pleased to be able to welcome back visitors to our region safely and respectfully.

“Devon and Cornwall Police has been planning extensively with partners throughout the lockdown period for the re-opening of our region and whilst I have no doubt we are going to be stretched over the coming months, we have robust plans in place and we are ready.

“If you are coming to Devon, Cornwall, Torbay, Plymouth or the Isles of Scilly, we welcome you, but please remember that Covid has not gone away. The infection rates remain low here and we are all keen for it to stay this way.

“We do expect our visitors to be respectful of the local community so that we can all enjoy the summer. Please continue to play your part and behave in a way that shows kindness and understanding to each other.”