Deep cleans and refundable deposits - Norfolk’s campsites are getting ready to reopen
Campsite owners in Norfolk are geared up to adapt their businesses to keep customers safe as they keep their fingers crossed for a summer reopening.
Campsites, caravan parks and glamping spots in Norfolk are preparing to potentially reopen in July, with social distancing measures in place, reduced capacity and increased cleaning schedules.
The government’s plan to rebuild the country after the coronavirus pandemic, which was published on May 11, says accommodation providers may be able to reopen from July 4, subject to conditions.
New data from holiday booking website Pitchup reveals that bookings for staycations surged shortly after the 50-page plan was released.
Dan Yates, its founder, said: “Bookings surged 135pc following Boris’ speech on Sunday compared to the week prior.
“Pitchup.com now has more than 10,830 bookings for 2020 from July 4 onwards, 934 of these bookings are for sites in Norfolk and 346 in Suffolk.”
July 4 is the earliest possible reopening date, and will only go ahead if five key conditions have been met - including the NHS not being overwhelmed, lower death and infection rates, hitting testing targets and making sure key workers have the correct protective equipment.
The conditions are in place to make sure the country does not have a second peak of Covid-19 and the government has said it will take action if figures begin to rise.
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The team behind Hickling Campsite and Canal Camping in Dilham have made the decision to start taking bookings and have looked at ways they can operate their business come July 4.
Tom Wright and Jo Sindall say they are offering full refunds if customers have to cancel their visit.
Miss Sindall, owner of the site, said: “Enquiries and bookings have been very busy, people are extremely keen to go outdoors, get away and come camping which is great.
“We have 25 pitches at Hickling which offer lots of space for visitors, we won’t have to change much of the site to re-open.
“We pride ourselves on our facilities being clean anyway, they are washed four times a day. We have also installed three extra washing up stations.”
The duo, who have run the sites for five years, feel the government need to elaborate on guidelines for campsites.
Miss Sindall said: “The 50-page plan does not mention camping specifically, all it mentions is hospitality.
“We’re excited to re-open but do feel we need more guidance from the government about how many people we can have on site.”
Hawthorns Glamping, in Foxley near Dereham, have also announced it would be “opening again very soon” following the prime minister’s speech.
In a statement on Facebook, the glamping park said: “Following on from the prime minister’s lockdown exit speech, we can confirm that we will be opening again very soon.
“We are now ready to take bookings as from July and would advise to book early to avoid disappointment.
“The tent is well spaced and equipped with everything that you will need to enjoy your stay and you will have no difficulty complying with any sensible distancing measures that may still be in place.”
The site, that was supposed to be in its first full season, is made up of one tent surrounded by a three-acre meadow, meaning only one family can stay at a time.
The Safari Tent also has its own bathroom and the whole tent will have a full antibacterial clean between each visit.
At Deer’s Glade Caravan and Camping Park in Hanworth, its owner is also hoping to reopen in July and has started taking bookings.
Owner, David Attew said: “By July hopefully if everybody has adhered to government guidelines to stay two metres apart, I think if we can keep ‘the R’ below one then I think we’re in a good chance of coming out, enjoying the countryside.
“You can come out here, stay distant and enjoy the countryside on a beautiful day.”