Although the UK Government is predicted to give the go-ahead to private rentals and hotels to reopen to guests, a UK camping industry body says that more clarity is needed for England’s campsites if they are to open safely. Boris Johnson is expected to announce the relaxation of the rule which bans overnight stays outside of the home, according to the Mail on Sunday, but holiday parks with shared facilities remain in the dark.
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Although interest for caravan and camping holidays are peaking, the government remains yet to give a confirmed date as to when they can welcome back guests.
The National Caravan Council (NCC) has reported a spike in interest in tourers and motorhomes since dealerships re-opened on June 1 2020, but is urging the government to give “clarity on a date.”
Jenny Summers, director of marketing for the NCC said: “We are seeing a really promising trend emerging, which after a hard few months for the industry, is welcome news to the UK caravan and motorhome business.
“However, we still do not have a date from the UK Government for when caravan parks in England can reopen, despite preparations being well underway by the park owners and protocols being implemented.
“We have issued our own guidance to holiday and touring parks to ensure strict social distancing and hygiene protocols are in place for when visitors with holiday caravans, motorhomes and touring caravans can return to parks.
“It is vital that the government gives us clarity on a date for us to work towards and consumers to begin to book their trips.”
There is a particular concern for holiday parks which have shared facilities such as toilet and shower blocks.
Although the majority of caravans and motorhomes are “socially distanced by design”, the NCC pointed out that there needs to be more clarity on whether social distancing rules will be amended from two to one metre, so that further preparations can be made for the reopening of vital facilities.
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“This dithering is presenting unnecessary additional risks for the sector,” NCC director-general John Lally commented.
“For over two months, we have been arguing it is totally inappropriate for the Government to link caravan parks with hotels, hostels and B&Bs.
“It is illogical that the two million people who own caravans and motorhomes are denied the opportunity to stay overnight in their safe self-contained accommodation.
“Caravans, motorhomes and lodges are socially distanced by design!”
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Mr Lally added: “We continue to argue to government that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to hospitality and tourism opening could damage our industry – and have unintended consequences.
“The majority of caravan parks are family businesses struggling to cope and survive during closure.
“In turn, caravan manufacturing has found itself with no orders for over two months.
“Too much of the holiday and selling season has already been lost.”
Though Mr Johnson has yet to make a formal announcement on the next stage of relaxation, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Friday that tourists would be welcome to holiday in Wales from July 6, if scientific guidance allows.
They will only be allowed to stay in “self-contained” accommodation such as second homes, holiday cottages, caravans, motorhomes and some hotels if they’re open, but it is a worrying outlook for sites with shared facilities.
The NCC has issued its own safety measures for members to follow.
Many parks, including national firm Haven, have outlined new social distancing measures such as one way systems around sites, new signage to help direct guests, and arrival time slots.
Furthermore, Haven has suggested it will have cleaning staff manning shared facilities between 7am and 7pm, as well as providing disinfecting cleaning products to guests who may need to use facilities during the evening hours.
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