Following the news that campsites across England are set to re-open in July, plans are now being made to ensure appropriate measures are in place to welcome holidaymakers this summer.
The government has now announced that the camping industry is set to re-open from July 4 in England as part of its phase three plans. Furthermore, with foreign holidays due to see a drop in popularity this year, it could be the case that ‘staycations’ are the choice for millions of families instead.
According to Pitchup.com, staycations are expected to increase 81% year on year if holidaymakers are not allowed to travel abroad.
While providing a hugely welcome and much-needed boost to the tourism industry in this country, campsites have been given the green light to begin opening up again as the infection rate drops.
Devolved administrations across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have alternative their restrictions compared to England:
- Northern Ireland will open from July 4 but are legally allowed to open on June 26.
- Wales will reopen look to reopen from July 13, but not confirmed.
- Scotland is reopening sites from around July 15.
The government announcement has already led to a significant increase in enquiries direct to campsites and via outlets such as Winfields Outdoors. News about what camping post-Covid 19 is going to look like and also for general camping information, especially from potential first-time campers, about what they can expect.
Specific details are yet to be confirmed, but we can be confident in saying that camping in 2020 is going to be very different to what you may have experienced previously.
What will the camping social distancing rules be?
We have all become accustomed to the rules around social distancing over recent months, and this policy will certainly be in place at campsites across the UK.
Subject to any change in guidelines regarding how many people you can and can’t interact with outside of your own family unit, you will need to remain 1-metre-plus apart from fellow campers at all times.
This rule will inevitably mean a reduction in the number of pitches available for hire, and with the two-week quarantine ruling to be in place for those returning from abroad likely to result in fewer foreign holidays being booked, demand for camping pitches is likely to soar.
So, the advice here is clearly going to be booked as early as you can to avoid any disappointment.
However, there have been reports that some owners are opening up additional fields around their sites to help try and offset the reduction in capacity.
Will I have to wear a face mask while camping?
Like going on public transport, you will likely have to wear a face-covering while you are camping as you will be in some sort of proximity to others. The campsite you choose may well insist on masks being worn at all times.
Will facilities at campsites be open?
With news that places such as gyms will remain closed because of shared facilities - like pools - it is unlikely that campsite facilities will fully reopen unless these areas can be kept to a high standard of cleanliness.
Some campsite owners have already stated they are in the process of adding additional toilet and shower facilities. Others have indicated that showers will be pre-booked with time slots to ensure there is no potential for a crowd to build up. It may be the case that many campsites reopen without toilets and showers.
Find out more about camping facilities opening at the Camping & Caravanning Club
Even if shared facilities are open, it is likely that many families will err on the side of complete caution and take their own equipment where possible.
Of course, you will definitely need to check with your campsite what the specific conditions are going to be for your holiday.
Remember, all campsite owners are particularly busy at present preparing for the summer season and making all the relevant alterations to their sites, so it’s best as a first port of call to check for information on their website rather than call or email. It’s likely there will be some delay in answering your queries, but the most frequently asked questions are likely to be addressed online.
In the meantime, you can browse around the Winfields Outdoors website for all the equipment you are going to need to help keep yourselves socially distant from fellow campers this summer. Items such as Portable Toilets, Water Containers and Camping Kitchens are all readily available and will provide you with added peace of mind during these extraordinary times.
There are also tents, such as the Vango Keswick 600DLX Air which come with an integrated side-pod, providing an ideal location for an item such as a portable toilet.
Will campsites be serving food and drink?
Hospitality businesses are opening. However, if you’re a camper who likes to look further afield for food and drink, then, of course, you will need to be aware that some pubs and restaurants may still be closed due to a lack of facilities for social distancing.
Any eating or drinking facilities onsite could still be out of bounds, depending on the campsite, while pubs and restaurants in the local area will be limited in what they can provide. Social distancing measures will be in operation, so it won’t be as easy to find a table. You might want to prepare instead for doing your own cooking onsite.
We’re biased, but eating outside of your tent during the warmth of the day or under the stars at night is one of the great pleasures of camping – and there is plenty of equipment available to make it as comfortable as it can possibly be for you.
Food always tastes better when cooked on a BBQ or you may prefer to use a gas-fired camping stove to toast your marshmallows over! You’ll also need a cool box or fridge to keep your food chilled as well as cooking utensils, tableware, a kettle and picnic sets.
This information is based on the latest guidance and advice from the UK government. Please check back at regular intervals as we will continue to update this post as new information becomes available.