Boris Johnson has announced the latest phase of relaxing lockdown in the UK which will see the caravan parks and campsite reopen their doors to tourists. Yet, with social distancing measures of “one metre plus” still in place, as well as a push towards better hygiene to eliminate the virus, holiday parks have had to implement new rules for guests.
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The reopening date is welcome news to holiday parks which were forced to close in March and had to cancel holidays at the beginning of what would be their peak season.
However, it has meant that park owners have had to look at new ways to ensure that guests and staff remain safe, and the spread of the virus is eliminated within their sites.
Big-name holiday parks in the UK, including Haven, Centre Parcs, Butlins and Pontins have announced when they will be welcoming back guests.
Though with the new rules in place, stays this summer could be quite different from summers gone by.
Haven has announced it will officially welcome back visitors from July 6 at its English sites.
Parks in Wales are expected to reopen on July 13, and parks in Scotland from July 17, however, this has not yet been confirmed by regional governments.
As part of its plans to reopen, Haven has launched its new “Haven Caravan Cleanliness Guarantee” (HCCG) to assure customers that their stay is clean and safe.
This will include heightened cleaning measures in accommodation and throughout the park, as well as special social distancing rules.
Guests will be allotted a time frame to arrive in to minimise the risk of contact with others.
Upon arrival, they will be directed to their caravan where they can collect their key.
Every caravan will be sealed to show it has not been reentered since it was cleaned by staff.
All cleaning staff will be kitted out in PPE during the process.
The park will also enforce a one-way system, complete with signposted directions, to help guests adhere to social distancing.
Furthermore, Gerard Tempest, director of guest and proposition for Haven, told The Sun Online Travel that bosses have been working on ways to reopen shared facilities whilst ensuring they have round-the-clock disinfection.
“Right now we are working on plans to have them manned from 7am to 7pm, with staff cleaning each shower cubicle and toilet between each use with anti-viral cleaning products,” he said.
The facilities will remain open once staff have clocked off for the day, however, then it will be the responsibility of guests to keep one another safe.
“After that, we will still keep the facilities open but have sanitising wipes available for guests to clean the facilities themselves,” he added.
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Centre Parks has confirmed it will be reopening its Longleat Forest park on July 13.
In a statement on its website, the holiday specialist said: “We know that reopening isn’t going to be easy but we are confident we can, and will, re-open in a way that meets government requirements and guidelines and always has your safety and the safety of our staff as our number one priority.
“We now have our full team of experts working at pace to review every single element of the Center Parcs experience, so that we are ready to reopen when the time is right.
“We know we will have to make some changes, but we will stay as close and as true to the current Center Parcs experience that we all know and love as possible, celebrating our wonderful forest environments, our wildlife and a range of fun family activities.”
It lists new social distancing measures throughout the park, appropriate PPE for all staff and enhanced cleaning of general areas as some of the new measures which will be put in place.
Additionally, dedicated hand sanitiser stations will be dotted throughout the park.
“We will need to consider how our guests and staff move around our villages, we are blessed with 400 acres of woodland but we will need to help everyone keep interactions with those outside of your households to a minimum,” adds Centre Parcs.
However, under current social distancing guidelines, some facilities will remain unavailable to guests.
“Our team is looking at every single activity we currently offer and we will need to find some new and creative ways to run some of them and unfortunately, there may be some that we just can’t operate in the first few weeks or so,” reads the statement.
“Our restaurants will look a little different too, initially with reduced menus and a greater focus on takeaways and we will adopt the same approach taken by the major supermarkets in our own ParcMarket.”
For the rest of its locations, Centre Parcs says it can not set out a firm date just yet.
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Butlin’s has announced it will reopen to guests on July 16, but with some major changes in place.
Guests will check-in using a new drive-through service, where they will be directed to a specific entrance to collect accommodation keys.
Furthermore, stringent cleaning procedures will be put in place throughout shared facilities and guest accommodation.
The Butlin’s website states: “We have a strict cleaning and hygiene policy in place and you’ll be assigned a room that has been thoroughly cleaned, sanitised and sealed before arrival.
“Our housekeeping teams are well equipped with the correct PPE and cleaning products to ensure your break is both safe and comfortable
“To minimise contact with others, we will be removing our accommodation servicing during your stay so that you can truly relax in the knowledge that nobody other than you and your family will be entering your accommodation whilst you’re here. Should you need additional towels and bedding during your stay, you can request these from our Guest Services team via the app.”
Hand sanitising stations will be placed throughout the park for guests to use.
Some onsite restaurants will remain open with social distanced seating and new opening times.
Buffets will also be available, however, the self-serve part of the experience will be eliminated.
Food will instead be plated or boxed by a member of staff.
Screens will be put in place to protect food, tables and chairs will receive extra cleaning between sittings and signage and floor markers will be in place to reduce congestion.
Butlins’ famous entertainment will continue to provide smiles to guests too, however, there will be limited guest capacity and all shows will be seating only.
Activities will also continue to operate, however at a reduced capacity to help ensure social distancing.
Butlin’s adds: “All equipment used during our activities will be sanitised thoroughly in between sessions and group numbers will be limited to make sure that those participating can do so at a safe distance.
“You’ll also be asked to sanitise your hands at the start and end of every activity.”
Pontins has confirmed its Holiday Parks and Sand Bay & Pakefield Holiday Villages are reopening from July 17.
Only self-catered breaks will be on offer initially, and entertainment will remain on hold.
Guests can still indulge in onsite activities, but numbers will be reduced to ensure social distancing is adhered to.
In a statement on its website, Pontins says: “Pontins Holidays takes the health & safety of all its guests and staff very seriously and as such please be advised we will review and update this information as it is released by the government.”
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