TOURISM bosses in Herefordshire's Wye Valley have declared the area open for business ahead of further relaxing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions on July 4.

Following the Government's announcement tourism and hospitality businesses will be able to reopen later this week in England, the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tourism group has laid out what visitors to the area need to know before visiting.

Because social distancing remains in place, the tourism body has launched a "Know Before You Go" guide which advises locals and tourists alike how to prepare for an enjoyable trip and minimise the risks to themselves and others from Covid-19.

Helen O'Kane, co-chair of Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tourism said: "Many tourism businesses are breathing a collective sigh of relief as they get ready to welcome visitors and re-ignite their livelihoods.

"As we open for business, the Visit Responsibly 'Know Before You Go' Guide is a common sense reminder that the virus is still a threat and visitors have a duty to take all precautions to minimise the risks to themselves, our staff and other visitors. It's an addition to the well established Countryside Code.

"We've lost a devastating chunk of income already this year, but we are good to go and reopening in time for summer will help businesses take baby steps to recovery. Many will still need Government support for some time as ongoing restrictions severely reduce capacity and increase costs, which makes it tough for many businesses to break even."

Tourism chiefs are championing VisitEngland's "We're Good to Go" mark, where businesses register their property as being managed in a Covid safe manner. Businesses are assessed according to their respective national guidance including the social distancing and cleanliness protocols that must be in place.

In England, businesses must align with the UK Government's official guidance for the sector and there will also be assessors to carry out random spot-checks on businesses to ensure that they are adhering to the guidance.

Here are the eight points from Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tourism, but the group is reminding visitors some parts of the area fall under the Welsh guidelines.

Wales and England have different rules, England's social distance is one metre from July 4, but Wales continues to be two metres and pubs remain closed until further notice.

Plan ahead

Your preferred place to visit may be too busy to visit safely – so always have a second and third option. Check in advance for the opening times, entrances and other restrictions.

Keep your distance

Ensure you maintain social distancing at all times – even when outdoors on forest tracks and cycle ways, canoeing or paddleboarding on the Wye.

Respect the rules

Take time to read important information printed online, in leaflets and posters, and adhere to signage at each location as it will differ from location to location.

Be patient and respectful

Our businesses have worked hard to welcome visitors,but each has to reduce their capacity due to social distancing so will become full quicker. Please be patient, respect staff, plan ahead and go somewhere different if queues are long.

Refreshments, food and toilets

Be aware that not all businesses will reopen and some will only offer takeaway service where there was previously a dine-in service. Ensure you know where your nearest toilet is and leave nothing behind but your footprints.

Park responsibly

Park only in designated car parks, not verges which may collapse or hide water-filled ditches, and do not block emergency access routes.

Fires and camping

Do not light fires or use disposable barbecues. Wild camping is not allowed, including campervans, but you'll be able to check into campsites once they are able to open.

Follow the countryside code

Respect other people, protect the natural environment, enjoy the outdoors. Particularly, shut gates, respect wildlife, keep dogs on leads near livestock and wild animals, and stick to footpaths.