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Owners of a family-run holiday park near Oban say tourists must be welcomed back with confidence if the Covid-ravaged economy is to be saved.
Tralee Bay Holidays says it has ticked all the boxes in a 31-page detailed risk assessment and has spent more than £12,000 on special cleaning equipment as part of its re-opening plan this weekend to keep its staff, visitors and community safe.
Co-owner David Shellcock said he wanted to give reassurance that visitors had already been ‘well briefed’ about what to expect but everyone, people living near the park and including those who pass through to get to the beach, all have a key part to play in keeping the virus at distance and safeguarding the vital local economy.
‘It’s important for all of us, not just this business but for our whole economy to welcome visitors back, but it has to be done wholeheartedly and safely. I can understand some people having concerns about people travelling here and what they could bring with them. Visitors are equally anxious about whether it’s safe but we have taken every possible step, followed guidelines, taken specialist health & safety advice and put a thorough risk assessment plan in place. We have all the tools to do the job properly and have gone through all the scenarios.
‘Everyone has a duty of care and part to play in this going well and it goes far wider than Tralee Bay – the outcome of this will affect us all. Without visitors having a positive, safe experience they won’t come back again. Everyone has a duty of care and part to play in this survival plan. We’ve got to get it right, us and the communities living near tourist parks like us because if we don’t it will have a social knock-on effect for the economy and it will collapse,’ he said.
All 21 furloughed staff are coming back, working in bubbles, while other anti-Covid measures include an outdoor reception, visitors signing forms before and at the end of their visit to declare good health, plenty of PPE, a ‘bullet-proof cleaning’ regime, including the use of fogging machines, a one-way toilet and shower block system, only accompanied children allowed to use the play area. The tent field at the holiday park’s neighbouring Highfield Holidays glamping and motorhome site will remain closed and there will be signs across both sites urging people not to loiter, not to litter and pick up dog poo.
A family-sized unit, that could potentially have brought £16,000 into the business, has been left empty in case any guests who fall ill with suspected Covid need to be isolated.
With 50 per cent of trade lost this year, bouncing back will be a challenge and could take a decade to catch up on Covid’s financial implications. With about £150,000 in losses, the downside has also included new accommodation built with an investment of £250,000 not being able to be rented out for more than three months, said Mr Shellcock, who runs the sites with his brothers Richard and Ian.
But the future can be bright again, he said: ‘We are looking forward at the positives now, we’re expecting a busy November. As long as businesses can survive until Easter they will be fine but community support and co-operation is vital for all our sake,’ added Mr Shellcock.