As we enter spring and progress towards summer, it is only natural to be thinking about going on holiday and enjoying some well-deserved rest and recreation. The urge to holiday is stronger than ever for many people, in light of the Coronavirus national lockdowns that have kept us firmly on our home turf.
While holidays abroad are not allowed and are likely off the cards this summer, families will undoubtedly be considering staycations as an alternative.
The Current Guidelines
If you live in England or Wales, then non-essential shops and businesses are already open. Further North, the restrictions are still in place, but Scotland will be reopening soon (no sooner than April 26th). With a later reopening date, you should be cautious about booking UK holidays to Scotland, at least for the next few weeks.
The currents guidelines on staycations are as follows:
England – Self-catering accommodation is open and includes holiday cottages, campsites, and self-contained apartments in lodges. Hotels and bed and breakfasts will reopen on May 17th, at the earliest. A group of six people from two households can holiday from May 17th, and the goal is to lift all restrictions from June 21st.
Wales – Self-catering accommodation is open along with hotels that offer room service. An accommodation that has shared guest facilities will not be permitted to open. Two households can mix indoors from a proposed date of May 10th.
Scotland – You can travel within Scotland if you reside there, but you cannot stop overnight. People living in England and Wales may not travel to Scotland. A provisional date of May 17th has been set for up to four people from two households to mix.
Wherever you book staycations, there will be guidelines for you to follow. These include restrictions on mixing with other groups of people indoors and continuing to wear face masks.
Unfortunately, there is a continued risk that the government will need to make a U-turn and put us back in lockdown. This would, of course, mean rescheduling or cancelling any staycations that you have booked. The most sensible and cautious approach would be to only book staycations with accommodation that offers a full Coronavirus refund and no administration fees if dates need to be changed.
It would also be a good idea to protect yourself with a health insurance policy that explicitly covers cancelling your staycation because you have contracted COVID-19 and must self-isolate at home.
How Holiday Parks Are Keeping You Safe
You can check-in at the reception of UK holiday parks and use public toilets, breastfeeding rooms, baby changing rooms, and laundry facilities. To protect guests, holiday parks have increased the regularity with which these areas are cleaned. They will further reduce transmission risks by ensuring these spaces are well ventilated and by adequately spacing outdoor dining sets and picnic benches, in a fashion that we have seen with pub benches and restaurants.
Showering facilities in holiday and caravan parks will have restricted access to one family at a time. These staycation providers may restrict access to showers by introducing an appointment system.
It is essential to continue to follow advice on wearing face masks and regularly washing your hands.