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Seaside town set to welcome visitors again as lockdown eases

PUBLISHED: 06:31 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:16 03 July 2020

Colleen Roper, whose family has run Rainbow Park Amusements at Hunstanton for 50 years  Picture: Chris Bishop

Colleen Roper, whose family has run Rainbow Park Amusements at Hunstanton for 50 years Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A seaside town is set to welcome back the holidaymakers as lockdown rules are relaxed this weekend.

Colleen Roper, with a banner thanking the NHS at Rainbow Park Amusements in Hunstanton  Picture: Chris BishopColleen Roper, with a banner thanking the NHS at Rainbow Park Amusements in Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

Attractions including the much-loved fair and amusements are reopening, along with Sea Life and other businesses at Hunstanton.

Caravan sites, chalets, holiday lets and second homes along the Norfolk coast have all been off-limits during lockdown. But thousands are expected to flock to the resort as overnight stays are allowed again.

Colleen Roper, whose family has run Rainbow Park Amusements on the Southern Promenade for 50 years, said: “We’re hoping for reasonable weather.

“There are extra measures in place following all the guidance and protocols in place for the industry. Obviously social distancing rules apply, staff will be wearing PPE, there will be screens at catering outlets.

A sign advising visitors of safety measures in place at Rainbow Park Amusements in Hunstanton  Picture: Chris BishopA sign advising visitors of safety measures in place at Rainbow Park Amusements in Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

“We’ve got everything in place. We’re looking forward to seeing the visitors and all the smiles on the faces of the regulars.”

Pubs which can meet social distancing guidelines can reopen on July 4. Venues hope people will come flooding back to enjoy a pint or pub lunch.

MORE - Everything you need to know about the pubs reopening

A new 120-seat sun terrace and outdoor drinking and dining area will be serving its first customers at the Wash and Tope, on the seafront.

Steven Sands, director of Coast and Country Inns, which runs the ‘Tope and three other establishments, said: “We’ve put a lot of processes in place.

Giles Norwood (left) and Toby Hewitt on the stairs to the new sun terrace, with the beer garden below them at the Wash and Tope in Hunstanton Picture: Chris BishopGiles Norwood (left) and Toby Hewitt on the stairs to the new sun terrace, with the beer garden below them at the Wash and Tope in Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

“We’ve done a lot of work in the back garden. We’ve laid out rear seating areas so there’s a lot more space outside. A lot of people will feel far more comfortable being outside, whether they’re eating or drinking.

“We’ve got an app where people can order their drinks and meals, we’ve got single use menus.

“It’s going to be an interesting time but we’re excited to see what people think of the garden.”

Sea Life Hunstanton is also reopening on Saturday. Visitors will have their temperatures checked and will have to book a time slot for their visit online.

Giles Norwood in a corner of the new sun terrace at the Wash and Tope in Hunstanton  Picture: Chris BishopGiles Norwood in a corner of the new sun terrace at the Wash and Tope in Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

Nigel Croasdale, general manager for Sea Life Hunstanton, said: “We’re utilising an extensive range of safety measures, designed to ensure a happy, safe and healthy experience for all.

“I’m sure that after the extended lockdown, many families, particularly with younger children, will be in real need of escapism, entertainment and a way of making happy new memories with those they love.”

MORE - Sea Life Hunstanton is reopening

Just under 5,000 people live in Sunny Hunny. But during the tourist season, the number doubles as thousands of caravans, chalets and holiday lets are occupied.

From Saturday, things return to normal. Long queues are expected on the main approach roads, particularly the A149 between King’s Lynn and Hunstanton.

Thousands are expected to flock to Hunstanton as lockdown is relaxed over the weekend  Picture: Chris BishopThousands are expected to flock to Hunstanton as lockdown is relaxed over the weekend Picture: Chris Bishop

The weekend also has all of the right ingredients to be a busy one for the resort’s lifeboat crew - another return to summer normality.

Crowded beaches, sunny weather and low water just after lunchtime make the perfect recipe for people getting cut off by the tide.

“The peak time will be 1pm - 2pm on Saturday,” said Geoff Needham, the Hunstanton station’s long-serving press officer.

“People should be aware of the tides, read the signs, watch the weather and don’t use inflatables in the tidal waters. Children have been swept away on inflatables.”

Sea Life manager Nigel Croasdale is looking forward to welcoming visitors back  Picture: Ian BurtSea Life manager Nigel Croasdale is looking forward to welcoming visitors back Picture: Ian Burt

Many visitors to Hunstanton traditionally come from the East Midlands, for whom the town is the closest seaside resort.

But people from locked-down Leicester have been warned by police that journeys to the coast are not considered essential and anyone caught travelling may be told to turn back or fined.

MORE - Visitors from Leicester warned to stay away from Norfolk coast

In Norfolk, police and public health officials have urged people to behave responsibly as the county’s coastline reopens.


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