Camping and caravan holidays have been sorely missed by many but from today they can be enjoyed once again. The Government’s travel advice for England states that from April 12: “Self-contained holiday accommodation may reopen. “This is accommodation in which facilities are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble.
“Such facilities include: kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as: lounges, sitting areas and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors for entry and exit into the accommodation.”
Guidance has previously caused confusion.
It was previously suggested that camping and caravan sites with shared toilet facilities could not open.
However, this is not the case. Dan Yates, founder of outdoor accommodation site Pitchup.com, said: “With at least three different versions of the rules in circulation, further confusion was created by DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] guidance that ‘no household mixing’ was allowed in shared toilet blocks (effectively closing the typical campsite).
“However, updated guidance issued on Thursday, April 9 makes it clear that toilets can open as shared facilities.
“Similar confusion had applied to receptions, facilities for laundering clothes, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, water points and waste disposal points, all of which can also now open as shared facilities.”
This is great news for many camping sites and caravan parks that can open.
“This means some campsites may now be able to reopen for the critical early May bank holiday, recouping some of the income lost from missing Easter and all three bank holidays last spring,” said Yates.
Camping and caravan holidays are undeniably soaring in popularity.
Over the last month, UK bookings via Pitchup.com have surged by 139 percent for arrivals between April and the end of September, against the same period in 2019.
So what are the rules for the UK? The camping platform clarified details today:
The updated guidance for England clarifies that receptions, facilities for laundering clothes, public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, water points and waste disposal points are not subject to the “no household mixing” rule, meaning that camping and caravanning sites providing these can reopen as of today.
‘Self-contained accommodation’, which can open from today, includes those where facilities including kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, stairs and corridors are restricted to the exclusive use of a single household or support bubble.
However, indoor public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, and facilities for laundering clothes do not count as indoor communal areas.
Instead, these areas are allowed to reopen for shared use but should be cleaned regularly and kept well-ventilated and guests should try where possible to limit their interaction with other households whilst using them.
The guidance also reads that campsites and caravan parks are permitted to open for leisure stays provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are receptions, washing facilities (including facilities for laundering clothes), public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, water points and waste disposal points.
Shower facilities however should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place – either by assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated).
The usual rule applies to a single household or bubble indoors, or in a group of six people or two households outdoors
Other types of accommodation, such as campsites with shared shower blocks unable to implement the measures above, will be able to open no earlier than May 17.
At this point, social contact limits become a group of six people or two households indoors, or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors.
Holiday accommodation in Scotland isn’t expected to reopen until April 26 at the earliest.
More detailed guidance as to exactly what specific rules will be in place has yet to be issued by the Scottish government.
Regulations for Northern Ireland are being reviewed later this week on April 15.
Reopening of self-contained accommodation is anticipated under step three, with sites with shared facilities as part of step four of the NI pathway but there are no specific dates against these for the time being.