A holiday park owner says he believes the British people are “very confused” about Boris Johnson’s new coronavirus lockdown rules amid a surge in summer bookings.
Stuart Longrigg, the owner of Leonards Cove Holiday Park in Stoke Fleming, Devon, said he had been flooded with calls from people looking to book getaways following the prime minister’s statement on Sunday, despite current restrictions prohibiting travel for anything except day trips.
“I think there are definitely more calls coming in after Sunday, people are very confused about whether they can book holidays,” he told Yahoo News UK.
“Under the current advice we’re closed down from now until the end of June. We only have a couple of vulnerable people staying with us and are doing their shopping for them, but other than that we are completely closed.
“We are taking on some nurses who can’t go home after their shifts at the local hospital, and some people who are self-isolating but no members of the public.”
Longrigg said that the dates set out in government’s “roadmap” for ending lockdown restrictions had caused confusion about what dates holiday parks would be allowed to resume operations.
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From Wednesday, people in England can travel for exercise if they want to, and some businesses are being allowed to reopen.
But holidays elsewhere within the UK and visits to second homes are still forbidden.
“At the moment the information we are receiving from the government is that we can open on 1st of July,” Mr Longrigg added, “But our professional body has said 3rd of July.”
“We are taking provisional bookings from July onwards and people can then postpone their holidays or have a ‘no quibble’ refund if lockdown rules are tightened again.
Longrigg estimated his holiday park will lose about £600,000 because of the pandemic, and said he hoped to be allowed to reopen as soon as possible.
“Because of coronavirus we have furloughed all staff and only have a couple of directors cutting grass and looking after the park,” he continued, “I think if we’re not allowed to open until July we probably will have lost about £600,000.
“I would say that most people have been so understanding about the situation. There have been the odd few that haven’t, they just have a one-track mind and want to book their holidays.”
A holiday park in Wales has also reported receiving dozens of calls following Sunday’s announcement, according to North Wales Live.
Laurie Clark, general manager of Golden Sands in Rhyl, said he had received as many as 40 booking attempts despite the Welsh travel advice staying the same.
"Some people just couldn't understand it, and were questioning it as they said Boris Johnson was the prime minister of the UK so why would it be any different in Wales?” Mr Clarke said.
"Some didn't even believe me, and I can imagine things getting a bit nasty with all this confusion. The caravan owners just want to come back to the park.
"Others wanted to book holidays, and we've had a few who want to stay here whilst working in nearby factories in Ellesmere Port and so on."