A village store in Cornwall has faced a backlash after becoming the second to enforce a strict "locals only" policy during Covid-19 writes Tom Bevan.

Owners at Downderry Stores said it would only serve "permanent residents" registered with the local GP or other key workers who show ID.

It is the second known store in Cornwall to introduce such a policy following on from a Spar shop in Tintagel - with both drawing comparisons to the 'local shop, for local people' sketch in the League of Gentleman comedy classic.

Downderry has a population of just 983 and is popular with visitors due to its beach.

Staff say the policy has been implemented to "keep our community and employees as safe as we can".

But the rules - that have been in force since lockdown began - have had a mixed reaction from the public with several people accusing them of being unnecessarily hostile to visitors.

In a post on Facebook, the store said: "To keep our community and our employees as safe as we can, we are currently only serving customers who are permanent residents, registered with the local GP and key workers with appropriate ID.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and do look forward to welcoming everyone to Downderry Stores again soon."

Reaction to the store's policy has been mixed with differing opinions from residents and visitors.

Mark Readman criticised the business decision, saying: "That will be remembered. Not the smartest business decision."

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Niki Gregory added: "They're normally happy to take outsiders money though, a bad move I'd say."

But employee Sharolyn Broad defended the decision. She wrote on Facebook: "As a key worker from Downderry stores I would like to put my opinion forward.

"I'm not sure if you're aware but Downderry and Seaton have a very elderly vulnerable population, this decision wasn't an easy one to make, we can to consider the mental health and well being of all our community hence this decision.

"Also, the staff and their circumstances have to be taken into account! (Even though I'm sure a small majority of people don't see these people have lives outside of work) I care for three people at home, one with leukaemia, one with heart failure and someone who is bed-bound!

"However, I don't have a choice to stay at home as being a key worker I need to try and keep our community going and safe! I hope this brings more understanding to you not being able to get water from our shop. This is not being done to be nasty and we welcome people back once this pandemic is over. If you don't feel you want to come back then that is fine too."

The store declined to comment.

Its decision follows that of Julie Harrison who runs a Spar shop in Tintagel that is often inundated with holidaymakers.

She got so irate with people flouting the guidelines to avoid unnecessary travel she introduced her own "locals only" rule.

Julie said she was forced to take drastic measures as holidaymakers were still visiting despite the Government's warning and said she would only serve customers who are recognised by staff or have ID proving they live in the county.

It followed a plea by the authorities for visitors to stay away from Cornwall to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

One person wrote on Facebook: "This seems a bit much to me, what if you were working in the area and had to buy some food, like key workers?

"It reminds me of the 'local shop, for local people' sketch in the League of Gentlemen, it doesn't seem real."