Camp sites to re-open…Start your engines

Get your calendars and diaries out (or electronic devices), take a big old marker pen and draw a big ring around Monday 12th April 2021 for this is the day our camping trips may well begin again. With that in mind give the motorhome a good wash, spring clean the inside and stock the fridge with the drinks of your choice and get ready to start your adventures once again.

Many many people have suffered in so many ways over the past year due to the Covid 19 pandemic so the light at the end of the tunnel shone a little brighter on Monday 22nd February 2021 when the UK Prime Minister announced the government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England. In a statement to parliament he paid tribute to the success of the UK’s vaccination programme and the resolve of the British public in following the lockdown restrictions.

The roadmap, which has now been published on gov.uk, outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps. Step 2 which is scheduled for the 12th April 2021 allows self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can reopen.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club have already said that “following the UK Government’s recent guidance, we are planning to reopen all our Club campsites in England from 12 April 2021. We are however awaiting further clarification on the use of communal areas and shared facilities (including toilet blocks and showers) and will advise on this as soon as possible”.

The camping and Caravan Club are also planning to open whilst recognising that the dates are subject to change depending on government advice and findings. The said that in England the “earliest opening date will be the 12th of April. We are currently clarifying guidance but it is likely that as part of this opening phase we will not be able to open facility blocks. Campers will need to have their own self-contained toilet facilities, until the 17th of May at the earliest”.

Due to the difference in guidance with each of the UK nations there are some variants. The Camping and Caravan Club say that in Scotland the earliest opening date will be the 26th of April 2021. Whilst in Wales it’s potentially earlier with the earliest opening date being the 1st April 2021. Finally in Northern Ireland restrictions have been extended until 1st of April and they are awaiting further details, which are due to be announced on the 18th of March.

4 Step Plan

Step 1 (part one) – March 8

  • All schools and colleges will reopen, as well as after school clubs
  • One plus one recreation will be allowed; for example, people will be permitted to meet one other person from outside their household to socialise
  • Care home residents will be allowed one named visitor to attend regularly
  • Stay at home order will remain

Step 1 (part two) – March 27, at the earliest

  • Rule of six to return for outdoor meetings, including private gardens as will two household rule.
  • Outdoor sports facilities to reopen
  • Stay at home order to end

Step 2 – No earlier than April 12

  • Non-essential retail and personal care such as hairdressers to reopen
  • Public buildings such as museums and libraries will return
  • Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality will reopen but customers must be seated
  • No requirement for a substantial meal to purchase alcohol and no curfews on opening times
  • Self-contained holidays within the UK to be allowed
  • Funerals allowed up to 30 guests, while wakes, weddings and receptions will be allowed 15
  • Outdoor attractions such as zoos, theme parks and drive in cinemas

Step 3 – May 17 at the earliest

  • Most restrictions on outdoor socialising to be removed; no more rule of six
  • Gatherings of more than 30 will still be illegal
  • Indoor mixing to be allowed with rule of six or two households
  • Indoor hospitality can reopen with same restrictions
  • Weddings will be allowed with up to 30 people
  • Large events can resume with spectators, though there will be restrictions;
  • Indoor events will be allowed up to 1,000 spectators or 50% of capacity, whichever is lowest
  • Outdoor events will be allowed up to 4,000 or 50% of capacity, whichever is lowest
  • Outdoor seated events, such as football matches, will be allowed 10,000 fans or 25% of capacity, whichever is lowest

Step 4 – No sooner than June 21

  • All limits on social contact, such as rule of six, to be removed for both indoor and outdoor settings
  • Rest of society to reopen, such as nightclubs and other businesses which did not reopen following first lockdown
  • Social distancing will remain in place until Step 4, with a review taking place ahead of that date looking at how the advice can be removed

So whilst there are no set in stone guarantees, that light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to glow much brighter. Be sensible, realistic and pragmatic if things don’t open up exactly on the projected dates, but we should all feel a little more positive about the opportunities and new adventures that await us all.

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