Wales

Coronavirus: Socially distanced holiday preparations under way

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Media captionOne campsite says it has been "inundated" with enquiries from people wanting to book

Preparations are under way to provide social distancing at holiday spots as tourism starts to reopen across Wales.

Campsites are able to fully open from this weekend, with one saying they had been "inundated" with enquiries.

However there are concerns over the volume of visitors coming in some places.

North Wales is the second most popular destination for a UK break this summer, according to research carried out by a hotel chain.

One council there has already issued a plea to visitors to stagger times for visiting one of its beauty spots after car parks were overwhelmed.

Image caption New Quay is one of the towns to introduce coronavirus road closures

Denbighshire council has had problems with people parking along roads leading to Moel Famau in the Clwydian Range hills, and has urged people to think carefully about the timing of their visit.

Snowdonia also saw long lines of illegally parked cars as the school holidays began at the weekend.

'People are wanting staycations'

Image caption Phillipa George has reduced numbers and followed Covid-19 social distancing and hygiene advice

In Monknash, Vale of Glamorgan, Heritage Coast Camping owner Phillipa George has been making careful preparations to welcome back visitors when the site reopens.

"We're following Welsh Government guidelines and we are part of the Good to Go scheme," she told BBC Wales.

"So, we've been preparing to have all our signage, sanitation, social distancing, staff, PPE and everything that is to follow the guidance.

"We should hopefully be ready to open up at the end of the month."

Image caption Getting the social distancing right at Heritage Coast Camping in the Vale of Glamorgan

She said the interest in coming had been "amazing", adding: "We're very fortunate that we have a lot of visitors who come to us every year.

"But we have been inundated by enquiries from people who want to come. And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that people are wanting staycations, and they love Wales."

She has reduced the number of pitches by increasing the distance between each one, both to reduce the overall number and to keep queues down for shared sanitary facilities.

'It is the Costa del Ceredigion'

Image caption Mikey's Cafe Bar in Aberystwyth has been able to put out extra tables thanks to road closures to help social distancing

In Aberystwyth, Nettie Brydon, of Mikey's Café Bar, said the announcement of measures to help with social distancing, including pedestrianisation on central streets, had caught some businesses cold.

"It was announced late on a Friday evening that it was going to happen on Monday. It didn't give really any of the businesses time to prepare," she said.

"And then at the start of that week it was a complete washout, so it wasn't until the Wednesday afternoon that we could actually get any tables out and do it safely.

"To sum it up, it was a bit of disaster at first, but as it's going on I'm growing towards it and I'm starting to like it," she said.

She is now able to serve seven tables on the road outside whereas they previously only had two.

Nettie added: "If it was to be a permanent thing we would have to invest in some kind of outdoor cover for when it rains. After all it is the Costa del Ceredigion."

'Concern for local customers'

Image caption Butcher Rob Rattray worries about customer access, but wants people to "keep safe"

However butcher shop owner Rob Rattray, who has been operating a click and collect service, is worried it will have an impact on his local customers who have stuck with him through lockdown.

"We're trying to get our customers to come before 11 o'clock. On a nice day it's good for some businesses, like the cafes with the tables outside."

But he conceded: "We've got to keep safe here. We've been good all through the lockdown in Ceredigion, and if this helps it, great."

'Safe zones'

Image caption Traders in New Quay initially criticised Ceredigion council's plan for vehicle-free safe zones

Aberystwyth is one of four "safe zones" created by Ceredigion council to allow for a bigger flow of visitors to the towns.

The others, in Aberaeron, New Quay and Cardigan, will also all close between 11am and 6pm, which the council says is the only way to accommodate social distancing on the narrow pavements in the area.

Visitors to the town gave the closures a positive response, saying they understood the need for it and thought tourists "had been respectful" of the measures in place.

"Everyone is using it, and you can see they're all spaced out along the entire distance of it," one man commented.

"I definitely think it is helping with social distancing."

'One extreme to the other'

Image caption Councillor Dewi Wyn Roberts says people in Abersoch are worried about an influx of visitors

Absersoch, in Gwynedd, is a small seaside village which is hugely popular with tourists during the summer months.

Councillor Dewi Wyn Roberts said it has gone from being "really, really quiet" during lockdown, to seeing "more visitors than ever".

"People who have been shielding are really concerned about that," he said

"And not only that, but visitors who have come here and are used to coming here are realising it is going to be a really busy period, and they are so concerned about social distancing."

Mr Roberts called on people to respect social distancing guidelines and wear a mask if they were unable to do so.

The council has introduced reminders throughout the village, but Mr Roberts said it was also considering other measures.

These would be used on a trial and error basis, he added, and could include one-way pedestrian systems, reduced car parking and widening roads where possible.

The end of the summer could see numbers coming to Wales increase, according to a survey by Travelodge.

Out of 2,000 adults questioned, four out of five said they were planning a staycation in the UK, with most looking at the end of August and September in the hope restrictions may be further eased by then.

North Wales was the second most popular destination behind Cornwall for a break, and two out of five were planning to take more shorter breaks rather than one two-week holiday.

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