Bosses of Norfolk coach holiday firms take action over coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 14:44 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:44 10 March 2020

Robert Easton, director of Eastons Holidays. Pic: Archant

Robert Easton, director of Eastons Holidays. Pic: Archant

The heads of local coach companies said they were ‘trying to operate as normal’ but having to take action as coronavirus worsens.

Eastons Holidays, based in Stratton Strawless, has already cancelled a holiday 25 people were booked on in June to the Italian Dolomites. It is also taking the precaution of fumigating all of its vehicles after every single trip.

At Simonds Coach and Travel, in Diss, which doesn't organise much international travel, UK trips were going ahead as planned and the MD said he was taking decisions on a daily basis.

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Martyn Simonds, MD of Simonds Coach & Travel. Pic: ArchantMartyn Simonds, MD of Simonds Coach & Travel. Pic: Archant

It comes as national coach firms such as Shearings and Newmarket Holidays have cancelled trips to Italy going forward. After the numbers of infected in Italy continue to rise, BA and Ryanair both cancelled flights to and from Italy as the country was placed under lockdown.

Rob Easton, one of the directors of Eastons Holidays, told this newspaper they had cancelled a week's holiday to Venice and the southern Dolomites in Italy, due to depart on June 4 and costing £1295 a person. There were 25 people booked on the trip and all had been refunded in full, he said.

'We just felt that we were not going to get any more people on the trip, so we felt it was better to cancel.' However, he said a trip had left for Paris yesterday and one had just returned from Austria. Another trip to London with 48 people booked on was also going ahead as planned.

Robert Easton, director of Eastons Holidays. Pic: ArchantRobert Easton, director of Eastons Holidays. Pic: Archant

'All our excursions are operating, we are trying to operate as normal until we are told to do otherwise.

'People are very frightened of going to Italy, though, so it's certainly going to affect our continental holidays.'

He also said they'd stepped up hygiene precautions, with hand sanitiser available on coaches which were also now being fumigated after every trip - a procedure usually done once a month.

Martyn Simonds, MD of Simonds Coach and Travel, said they had no planned trips abroad but that people were getting 'a little bit edgy' about travelling. 'The UK market is quite buoyant at the moment but it is worrying, no question about that. We are taking each day as it comes, and making the appropriate decisions every day but it is changing hourly and what we decided yesterday can no longer work today.'

A trip to Venice in June has been cancelled by Eastons Holidays. Pic: Eastons HolidaysA trip to Venice in June has been cancelled by Eastons Holidays. Pic: Eastons Holidays

At Shearings, one of the UK's biggest coach firms, it cancelled all its Italian holidays up to April 4, posting on its Facebook page: 'The government have now advised against all but essential travel to the whole of Italy. This has meant we have had to make the decision to cancel all Italian holidays travelling before April 3.

'We will be contacting all affected passengers in departure date order this week to discuss your options. Please be patient. All other holidays are unaffected and running as normal.'

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