CAMPSITES PREPARE TO REOPEN IN JULY
Since the threat of COVID-19 put the world in lockdown, life as we know it has stalled. Many of us have been furloughed, the rest of the working population (excluding key workers) have been working from home.
We sat in the garden and walked in the park, enjoying what is believed to be the sunniest April on record and contemplated what this current situation meant for our likelihood of a holiday this year.
With international travel heavily restricted – the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is still advising against non-essential travel. But even if we could book, how would we currently feel about taking the risk?
The government published their Plan to Rebuild document on the 11th May and ‘step three’ of this indicates a desire to open UK holiday accommodation by the 4th July - at the earliest. This date is dependent on whether the government is confident that further easing of lockdown measures will not lead to a second peak. And that all tests have been met regarding the NHS, infection and death rates, testing and PPE.
According to booking website Cool Camping, when Boris Johnson announced these plans on the 10th May, bookings increased fivefold. To encourage bookings at this uncertain time - Cool Camping have launched a Coronavirus Booking Guarantee: meaning customers can book with a 20% deposit and pay the balance 10 days before the holiday. Should the restrictions continue, they can also alter the booking date for up to 18 months.
Though summer bookings are still lower than usual, perhaps because of the flexibility of the Cool Camping guarantee - people feel comfortable attempting to book.
Another booking site Pitchup.com say bookings have increased by 135% since the government announcement.
While the reality of a holiday abroad is still uncertain, at this stage, holidays in the UK seem within reach.
And what better choice of holiday: to revel in the freedom of the outdoors in a motorhome after months of lockdown?
Proposed Social Distancing & Other Restrictive Measures for Campsites:
- Increased cleaning.
- Reduced capacity, allowing more space between pitches.
- Consider adding more showers and toilets, to reduce pressure on these facilities and allow time for deep cleaning.
- Some sites plan to introduce time-slots for using the showers.
- Sites will reopen basic facilities, before communal areas (including shops)
- Some sites have indicated that they may only open to those motorhomes who have their own facilities. So that the campsite’s toilets and shower blocks can remain closed.
- At first, campers may only be permitted to visit local sites. Sabina Voysey, Director General of The Camping and Caravanning Club believes that when sites begin to reopen, people should only be allowed to visit local sites – to further limit the potential spread of the virus while the industry adjusts.
Understandably people are reluctant to make plans. The government guidelines seem to change on a daily basis. But as life slowly begins to resemble some sort of normality – we can allow ourselves to make tentative plans.
Hopefully, holiday accommodations in the UK will start opening in July as planned. Due to the devolved administrations, it is likely that this will happen at different stages in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
20% of sites in the UK are open all year round, and those that aren’t may ask to extend their opening period – in the hope of an Indian Summer.
Now that would be something to look forward to…