THE knock-on effects of the crisis are being felt, even in market towns far from any outbreak.

Traders in Guisborough and Thirsk, both well away from restricted areas, are already affected - but in one case it is for the better.

In Guisborough the business association chairman, Mr Stan Frank, said traders were nervous and holding their breath but he appealed to them to stay calm.

He hoped banks and other financial agencies would be sympathetic to farmers.

Mr Frank's own business, Leven Crafts, has seen day class students from County Durham cancel their places, although he is getting calls for course material to be sent out.

Nearby farmers had stayed away from the town, said Mr Frank, adding: "The whole town is quieter than usual. We have been lucky not to have an outbreak in this area, but who knows?"

Going Places' Guisborough branch travel adviser, Joanne Thorburn, said the only inquiry had been someone checking on a ferry to Ireland.

"Most people's trips are not due until summer and I think clients hope it will all be over by then," she said.

At the tourist information centre, a spokesman said those inquiring about walking in nearby woods had been directed to beaches between Saltburn and Redcar.

Bucking the general trend, business is booming for one Thirsk caf.

Mrs Karen Cousins, manager of Yorks tea rooms in the market place, said weekend takings had soared by more than a quarter. "People are coming into the towns because they cannot go to the villages," she said. "At the weekend, we were as busy as the Easter bank holiday last year."

Even so, Mrs Cousins, who is 32 and lives in Topcliffe, would swap the extra cash for an end to the outbreak. "My father is a farmer so this is affecting my family," she said.

But just two doors down at the White Horse caf, manager Mrs Andrea Sunley told a different story. "Weekends are slightly busier, but it is the trade through the week that you miss," she said. "Takings are at least 25pc down."

Guest houses and B and Bs were managing because of the number of workmen in the town, largely connected with the Tesco store expansion.

Mrs Ann Moore, who runs the Lord Nelson pub in St James' Green, said bookings for her four guest rooms were down: "We are still doing accommodation but it is more or less for working lads.

"We have no bookings for Easter weekend. After that we are fully booked because of the races, but we don't know if they will be on.

"A lot of caravanners come into the countryside at the beginning of March, but they are not coming for Sunday lunches. We had 28 booked last year for lunch on Mothering Sunday; we have only four this year.

"The town in general is a lot quieter. In Thirsk market place you can never get parked, but at the moment you can."

Thirsk newsagent Mr Tony Knowles was £700 down last week.

Mr Knowles misses the farmers as well as the tourists. "Just one member of the family is coming, so takings are up per customer because one person is shopping for the whole family," he said.

He is worried that takings over Easter will be hard-hit. "I supply newspapers to a lot of the caravan site owners, and they are complaining that bookings up to Easter have been cancelled."

The chairman of Thirsk chamber of trade, Mr Don Moore, thinks the government advertising campaign to encourage people back into the countryside will have little effect. "I don't think people will come back until the countryside is given the all-clear," he said.

He is meeting the Vale of York MP, Miss Anne Mackintosh, this week to ask her how the government plans to help tourist-dependent businesses in Thirsk.