The Government has been easing lockdown restrictions slowly over the last weeks. From June 1, people have been allowed to meet with up to six friends outdoors, and from Monday, June 15, all non essential businesses in the UK, including craft and clothing stores, have been allowed to reopen. Holiday parks and campsites in Britain have been closed since March, when the coronavirus lockdown first started, and are expected to reopen from July 4 onwards in England.
Will campsites and caravan parks be safe when they open?
Campsites and caravan parks will have to abide by and enforce a number of added measures to ensure the safety of staff and holidaymakers.
One new way of ensuring optimum safety is by asking guests to use “wildlife corridors” to help them keep a two-metre distance, according to Ros Pritchard, director-general of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.
This method sees the grass grow a two-metre width in between tents, keeping not only the customers safe, but rendering the site more friendly to wildlife, including hedgehogs.
Ms Pritchard said: “You have to have this two metres of distance so we came up with the idea that you just leave two metres unknown because that gives the visual indication of space that some people can’t imagine.
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“We’ve already done wildlife corridors on the margins and through our parks so it’s just extending these to two metres.
“And these will mark out where you park or where you pitch your tent. It won’t necessarily be a whole corridor, it might just be a whole strip.”
Additional safety measures include timed slots to check-in and appointments to clear out your chemical toilet.
Ahead of arrival, guests at some parks may be asked to pay beforehand in order to minimise face-to-face contact with staff members.
Wherever possible, anything that “can be done outside, will be done outside”, added Ms Pritchard.
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She said: “Some parks are erecting marquees and gazebos in front of their reception buildings, and customers may pay online and not even get out of their cars when they arrive to check in.”
Signs will be erected to remind customers to keep their distance at all times throughout the parks.
Some are expected to introduce paper seals on their tents or vans in order to reassure customers that they have been thoroughly cleaned before arrival.
Holidaymakers will also be required to open a window in an effort to ventilate the space before new customers arrive.
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Ms Pritchard continued: “Before entering any facility, customers will be asked to use hand sanitiser or wash their hands.
“And before they check out, they will be asked to leave the windows of their accommodation open so that it is fully ventilated before it is cleaned, using the reinforced cleaning regime.
In terms of emptying chemical toilets, Ms Pritchard said: “Social distance can be in space or in time so we might be looking at appointments because you could do with times lots for people to empty their toilets out.
“But we’ll also be asking our customers to clean up properly after themselves as most of them already do.
“And we’ll have more cleaners on than we normally do but again before you approach, you will go past a hand sanitising station.
“Anyone who has been on a cruise ship is used to it because they have done it for years because of the norovirus.”
While campsites and caravan parks are expected to reopen on July 4 in England, Northern Ireland has given the green light for June 26, while the date is set for July 15 in Scotland.
Owners in Wales are reportedly in turmoil due to little information about when they can restart their business.
Ms Pritchard said: “It is only in Wales where the park owners are in despair with no indication of any date for reopening, not even the slightest ray of hope as to the future of their business.
“The Welsh First Minister has expressed his sympathy for their plight, but no more. Sympathy won’t keep the wolf from the door, neither will it address the bedlam they will face when England opens, and customers cross the border into Wales expecting to return to their caravans.”
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