Thursday, 9 Jul 2020

Caravan & campsites: Grant Shapps reveals the only way to ‘making holidays a possibility’

Holidays are a hot topic for Britons right now after almost 11 weeks of government-enforced lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The UK’s domestic tourism industry has suffered severe losses, meanwhile, globally the travel and tourism sector is haemorrhaging at a worrying speed. Despite the devastation, the government remains tight-lipped on when Britons can go on holiday again.

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However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps did share insight into one way Britons can help push closer towards their desperate urge for a mini-break at today’s coronavirus daily briefing.

When asked about the possibility of holidays in the UK Mr Shapps explained they are still off the agenda right now.

He said: “The rules are, at the moment, you can’t stay somewhere else overnight.

“We now know we can travel, we can travel as far as we want to and we can even visit people in numbers no more than six. But you still have to return home at night. So that’s obviously a limitation at the moment for national holidays.”

However, he did shed a tiny bit of light into how and when holidays may become a “possibility”.

“We will have to see how the course of the virus continues before we’re able to answer that.

“And we also know simultaneously the current Foreign Office advice says you can’t travel unless it’s absolutely essential, so we know that’s also in place at the moment.

So sadly, to answer your question at the moment, we’ll have to wait and see how the disease, the path of this continues to go.”

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He then suggested that slowing the virus was in the hands of the general public.

He said: “People have this, is no small way in their own hands.

“Measures like wearing face coverings will assist in a small way of figuring the R rate and helping us get out of this and making holidays a possibility.”

Mr Shapps added: “But listen, I always think it’s fantastic to spend time in the UK and I’m also aware lots of people would like to go away.

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“I’d love to be able to give you the definite answer but for that, we need to see exactly how the disease tracks and how we get the infection rate down over a period of time.”

Mr Shapps also made wearing face masks on public transport mandatory today, which the government believes will slow the spread of the virus.

However, after months of desperation amid what should have been the country’s busiest holiday season, UK domestic vacation providers are eager to reopen on July 4 as part of “Phase 3” of the government’s relaxation of lockdown.

Tourism businesses across the country have seen devastating losses, with VisitBritain suggesting the travel sector across the UK could decline into a black hole of around £11 billion if the stringent measures are upheld until August.

VisitBritain chief executive Patricia Yates urged: “When Government advice changes and we are once more allowed to roam consider revisiting or exploring somewhere new and having an extra holiday at home.

“Our tourist sector is one of the most vibrant and successful in the world – it needs you to make sure it bounces back once more.”

Many big-name holiday parks in the UK have already announced plans to reopen.

Centre Parcs is taking reservations for their English sites from June 12, which are set to open on July 5.

Pontins has unveiled new social distancing plans which it says will make holidays a possibility from July 6.

Similarly, Haven has confirmed plans to reopen on July 5, with social distancing measures in place for visitors.

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