6th April 2020: Coronavirus Update current situation at Birchwood Tourist Park
We have been observing Government legislation and policy with their recommendations together with those of our trade organisation and following the Government announcement on 23rd of March 2020 we closed the Park.
We dug out the big old gates that were taken off the top entrance when Mum and Dad bought the Park 25 years ago, not thinking we would need them again.
During these unprecedented times we are reviewing our position on a daily/ hourly basis as events unfold. It has been a very difficult few weeks, as we appreciate it has been for everyone as we all adjust to the worldwide Coronavirus crisis.
We would like to thank all our customers that we have had contact from, for being so understanding of the circumstances we are all facing, choosing to postpone or cancel bookings up to Easter so far. We will start looking at bookings from Easter when we have the next definitive Government guidelines and we will contact you to discuss your reservation. If you wish to contact us, please email us as we are not always able to answer the reception phone.
Our new touring and camping online booking system which we hoped to launch this season has been temporarily suspended from our website until we have a date for being able to reopen, but any existing bookings made prior to closure remain on the system.
We have furloughed some staff members, and the remaining staff are on limited hours, but are currently being very observant. Also, we have a few customers legally entitled to remain on the Park and they are being very vigilant. We have moved some of them to different parts of the Park to increase security. Additional locked gates have been erected at the Park entrance. At this point all seasonal caravans have remained on the pitch, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us.
In due course we will be reviewing the Seasonal Pitch occupiers. This may take a little while as we wish to be fair to all, and until we know when we can re-open it is impossible to come to a reasonable and fair arrangement. Regarding any (Seasonal) site fees we would request any outstanding amounts are paid. With regard to payments already received we will be making a policy decision about these when we know exactly what the position is. It will depend upon the length of time we are closed and any other relevant circumstances.
We are considering various options, but as we trust you will appreciate it is early days to make a decision which could be obsolete tomorrow, or at a future date. Further, we wish to remain in business and to be in a position to continue to offer our customers the chance to stay at Birchwood Tourist Park.
The whole country is going to be in economic turmoil for some time and regrettably compromises will probably be necessary for businesses and customers alike.
We would kindly ask if you are a seasonal or storage customer (or you are in contact with anyone who's email address we may not have), to please make contact with us by email or through the Contact Us page on the website. This will mean that when we are able to update you, we will have your most up to date contact details.
We will update you as soon as it is possible.
The family and staff at Birchwood wish everyone well and hope that we will come through these unprecedented times together. Please stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you back.
John, Linda, Rachael and Tim Orford
Monday 24th March 2020
Following the Prime Ministers statement on the evening of 23rd March 2020 to the nation, amongst other details mentioned he stated that all touring parks must be closed.
Holiday and touring parks have now been closed by Government.
Government guidance published last night on this link confirms the businesses and premises which must now shut and must remain closed including: ‘Caravan parks/sites for commercial uses’
We have followed guidance over the weekend and this statement and further to the statement last night we are now required by law to close.
We have put this into effect and we trust you will understand our position.
It is an ever changing situation and we will contact you as soon as we have any further information.
9.30pm Sunday 22nd March 2020
Updated to Website Monday 23rd 2020
To our valued customers and visitors of Birchwood Tourist Park
We hope you can appreciate John and Linda have owned and run Birchwood for over 20 years, with Rachael and Tim joining them for the last 6 years, and never had any of us thought we would have to be addressing such an crisis. These are unprecedented times.
We all have a responsibility to consider not just ourselves but the people of our country, the local community and on this Park.
We are having to make decisions and take actions which were unimaginable a few weeks ago.
We as a family, unfortunately have to announce, that we have made the very sad and difficult decision to close our gates to new arrivals, pre-booked or touring. Our online booking system has been deactivated until further notice. We will be closing all facilities on the park from 6pm Tuesday 24th March 2020. Where possible we will try to speak to you personally, although regrettably some information will come through email or phone messages as we try to contact everyone. Please do not call us, as we will need the phone line clear to contact upcoming bookings in chronological order. If you feel you need to contact us, email is the best contact at this current time, we will respond as soon as we can. As you know we are a small team but please trust that we will be in touch as we work through all our customers and bookings.
As I write this, the Government have announced additional guidance regarding essential travel. “Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, campsites, caravan sites or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holiday.”
This reinforces the decision and we ask all storage and touring or camping customers to remain at your primary residence and we will contact each booking to make arrangements and offer alternative dates for when the crisis is over.
We ask all Seasonal occupiers on the Park, not to stay in your holiday caravan at the time and to be sensitive towards the views and needs of the local community and NHS.
Over the last 24 hours, there has been an increasing and understandable concern in local communities towards the owners of second homes and caravans, as well as holiday visitors. The government’s clear guidance is that there must be no unnecessary or non-essential travel. We are expecting the Government to give us more guidance very shortly. We expect a clear message that holiday and touring parks must not stay open for business as usual. We hope there will also be some guidance about those using holiday caravans as their home.
If you are currently on site, the time for you to leave in and safe and orderly way is limited and if there is any reason why you cannot leave, you need to discuss that with us now.
We trust the announcements of support which have come from Government should help us to be ready to resume business just as soon as the crisis passes however this may be complex and we ask you to bear with us, as the family try to navigate through these processes.
We will be making every effort to ensure our staff are looked after during this period.
We are following the Government’s guidance so closing to protect you and the wider society. We urge you to co-operate and support us at this difficult time please.
John and Linda Orford, Rachael and Tim, and families
Updated: 18 March 2020 -Superseded by 23.03.2020 (above)
We are currently following government recommendations and guidelines with regard to the infection threat from Coronavirus. We have revised our procedures and added additional precautions to try to protect our staff, family, visitors and customers.
We are currently open, however we will close if instructed to by a relevant authority. The day to day running of the Park will be revised if and when this happens, and we will try to contact you with the update.
Please email us if you wish to be contacted by email.
If you or a member in your unit is experiencing symptoms or knows/ thinks they have been exposed, please do not approach our staff, the shop/reception or use the communal toilets. Remain in your unit, contact 111 for advice and call or email us so we are aware as we need to report this, and also make arrangements for you to use separate toilet and waste facilities.
Please follow the current guidance from the:
And NHS (https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19):
What to do if you have symptoms (From last update on
18 March 2020)
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Stay at home if you have either:
a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
The symptoms of Coronavirus are: •cough •high temperature •shortness of breath.
Things are changing on a daily basis and we may need to respond quickly and without warning to advice, restrictions or the daily Government update recommendations.
If you have any queries please email or call us, leave a message if we cannot get to the phone and we will respond as soon as possible. The on-call site wardens rotate with the on-call phone when the shop is closed.
Wish best wishes to you all, from all at Birchwood.
Tel: 01929 554 763