Devon County Council is joining with other local authorities across the South West to warn visitors against travelling to the region too soon before lockdown measures are due to be relaxed on Monday 12 April.
The council is also urging Devon residents and potential visitors after 12 April to take extra care, to act responsibly and to show local communities courtesy and respect at all times.
Under the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, Monday 12 April is the earliest date outdoor attractions and self-contained accommodation, such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, are allowed to open.
Until then, many facilities, shops and hospitality venues will not be fully open, with food and drink only available from essential shops or takeaways.
Visitors are being warned it is illegal and could be dangerous to travel before government restrictions are lifted.
With Easter approaching, there are fears a minority of tourists might be tempted to travel early and before facilities are ready or attractions are open.
The council said a ‘false start’ to the tourist season would risk spreading Covid-19 and put unnecessary extra strain on the emergency services.
Commenting, Devon County Council’s Head of Economy, Skills and Enterprise, Keri Denton said: “We will give people a warm welcome when the guidelines allow but not before.
“We are not ready for visitors yet and we do not want to put the summer at risk for the sake of a few more weeks.
“After all our hard work to keep Covid-19 cases in Devon so low, we do not want to risk things now.
“We ask everyone thinking of coming to Devon after April 12 to behave responsibly and make sure you book the sort of accommodation and experiences you can enjoy safely in advance.
“We also ask potential visitors, as well as our own residents thinking of travelling within Devon, to take extra care and to show our local communities respect and courtesy. This includes the simple things like parking responsibly, respecting the countryside and taking litter away.”