With holidays abroad this year looking doubtful, the nation's eyes have collectively turned to 'staycationing' and specifically camping - with uncertainty over when hotels and B&Bs might be open for business again and how social distancing in them might work.
Earlier in May, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced a 'first sketch of a road map for reopening society', with plans for non-food shops, followed, potentially, by the hospitality industry a month later. Many people have now starting to make belated plans for a summer getaway.
After the Prime Minister's address to the public, Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced that anyone travelling from overseas will have to self-isolate for 14 days. So for those hoping for a trip abroad, it became clear this won't be happening any time soon.
But, interest in camping is hotting up. Google search interest for campsites is at its highest since September last year, proving a huge desire amongst the public for camping holidays. Moreover, booking website Cool Camping said Sunday 17th May 2020 was busiest day of enquiries since August last year and Campsites.co.uk found in a survey that more than 90% of campers would like campsites to be re-opened by the beginning of July. Here's everything you need to know about when you can go camping...
Can I go camping right now?
On 23 June, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that campsites and caravan parks will be allowed to open for 4 July.
This will come as welcome news to the camping industry. In June, The Director Generals of the three leading camping organisations in UK; The Caravan and Motorhome Club, The Camping and Caravanning Club and The British Holiday and Home Parks Association wrote to the Prime Minister urging him not to leave the camping sector behind and 'Save Our Summer'.
When will campsites reopen?
Campsites and caravan parks will be allowed to open from 4 July, along with hotels and B&Bs.
Campsites will have to follow guidance on social distancing and hygiene measures. The Prime Minister has reiterated that the public must 'stay alert, control the virus and save lives.'
What safety measures will be put in place?
Safety measures on campsites remains speculative until the government published specific guidance.
When it comes to what you can expect for campsites reopening, a spokesperson for The Caravan and Motorhome Club, The Camping and Caravanning Club and The British Holiday and Home Parks Association has said:
'Campsite operators have carried out full assessments of each site to ensure that all will be operating to COVID Secure guidelines as published by the Government. Pitches are well spaced and at least 6 metres apart, there will be increased cleaning protocols of communal areas, contactless arrival and departure will be available where possible and most common areas will be open with social distancing measures in place. This could include toilet blocks, laundry, information rooms, water and waste points.'
Can I start planning my next camping trip?
The Camping and Caravanning Club is currently taking bookings even while its website is closed and advises these bookings are fully flexible. Similarly, Cool Camping is still taking bookings and advises these will be fully flexible up to 18 months after you book in the event of coronavirus restrictions.
How can I protect myself from the virus?
It’s worth thinking about how you’ll make your tent and surroundings secure against the virus.
While it’s important you practice social distancing once you get to a camp sites, don’t forget other measures, too. This could include packing gloves, face masks and cleaning essentials.
Following the guidance the government has set for businesses reopening, there are steps you can take when you go camping to help keep yourself safe from the virus. Take hand sanitiser with you and regularly wash and dry your hands. Government advice also states businesses should frequently disinfect and clean surfaces. So, think about how this applies to camping. It's a good idea to clean chairs, tables and barbecue equipment regularly, especially if multiple people are touching it.
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