Coronavirus update - Woolacombe Holiday Parks in Devon

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Coronavirus

Updated: 27th May 2020 at 17:00

Latest information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it might affect your break.

As a responsible family-run holiday provider the safety of our guests and team members is naturally something we've always and always will take very seriously. We are keeping a close eye on the developments associated with the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the regular announcements by HM Government. Our subsequent decisions are based on the advice of HM Government and we recognise that the many families who have trusted us with their holiday booking do require some clarity where possible as do our dedicated team members.

So we know this may be disappointing for many guests and in order to support government advice, we have decided to extend our temporary closure period at all our Parks until Thursday 2nd July 2020.

Forefront in our minds is the need for us all to tread cautiously away from lockdown so that the pandemic is controlled and because of this we know that the closure period may well extend further beyond this date. It is only sensible that any extension to this closure is taken in small steps meaning we can seek to provide the best possible service to our guests whose holidays have already been cancelled and so we can respond rapidly to any further changes in HM Government advice following the publication of their roadmap for a gradual easing of the current restrictions.

We are maintaining our Parks in a state of constant readiness for the moment it's safe and reasonable to welcome our guests for their wonderful family holidays. At the same time we are starting to put together comprehensive plans to ensure that when the time is right to restart the season, we can open with the appropriate and necessary social distancing measures in place.

We'll continue to inform affected guests pro-actively by email of any changes to any breaks as well as updating this information hub.

For the latest official information from HM Government please visit www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public and NHS England at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19.


Getting in touch about your holiday

We appreciate these are unsettling times and you may have questions that simply none of us have the answers to. We've tried our best to put together some frequently asked questions from what we already know... we're watching the same daily televised updates you are and our senior management team reviews all the advice reguarly so if anything impacts on existing bookings we will be in contact with affected guests as soon as possible.

We absolutely know that your holiday is important to you and many guests are keen to have their bookings dealt with quickly, but with thousands of guests already impacted by this temporary closure we kindly ask you please do not contact us about your booking until you have received the EMAIL with booking options from us - we are supporting our guests in arrival date order based on whether their holiday is already cancelled:

  • Arrivals up to 31st May: Our team are prioritising customers whose holiday date has passed or is approaching, to ensure the speediest resolution please refer to the latest email we have sent to you.
  • Arrivals from 1st June to 2nd July: As you will no longer be able to holiday with us as planned, we will be in touch with you in the coming weeks to give you the option to either move your holiday to another date or receive a full refund. In order to manage this as quickly as possible, we will be contacting affected holidaymakers by email and, due to many thousands of booking affected, it will take us several weeks to complete this process in full, so we would like to ask for your patience. Our team are supporting customers whose holidays have been cancelled up to 31st May/' and the sooner we complete that process then the sooner we can be in contact with you, so we ask for your kind assistance in not contacting us at this time.
  • Arrivals from 3rd July: Our team cannot assist you by telephone at this time as we are currently trying our very best to assist customers whose bookings we have cancelled; please refer to the frequently asked questions on this page. If after consulting the information below you need to contact us about a specific booking action then please use our email contact form and a team member will aim to respond to you within the next 14 days.


Understandably we're currently receiving a high volume of calls and messages at this time. Therefore, normal two-way conversations via social media or by email regarding affected bookings may not be possible due to the volume of enquiries and availability of staff. We apologise in advance for delays in our usual response times.

Due to social distancing measures we have a small team working through enquiries regarding re-booking holidays and refunds. Our opening hours are now from 9am to 4pm Mon-Sat so this is taking much longer than the usual level of service you'd have come to expect from us and for that we're very sorry. Every single booking has to be individually processed manually so we apologise that this means we are working through holidays as quickly as we can in order of the original arrival date.


If your holiday is cancelled by us

If we're not open so are not able to accommodate you because of Coronavirus, and you booked directly with Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks you're free to choose from one of three options giving you maximum flexibility to rescue your holiday. These apply to guests with bookings due to arrive up to 2nd July 2020, but if any future holidays are affected and cancelled by us for the same reason then they'll apply too... so along with our No Quibble Refund Guarantee you really can book with confidence.

YOU WON'T BE WORSE OFF OR YOUR MONEY BACK, OUR PROMISE

Right now the majority of families have chosen one of these three options to rescue their holiday but we understand that some guests may need a full refund instead. Each individual booking has to be manually processed and refunded separately to the method of payment and even the same card initially used so this may take up to 28 days to process but our team members are working their very hardest to make this as quick a process as possible.

These options are available if we cancel your booking and we will contact you to offer these options either by email or phone, so we kindly ask that you wait to be contacted so we can assist you and all our guests in the best possible way.

Newspaper promotional bookings made through The Sun and Breakfree have the option of moving your holiday for free to the same Park and duration in Autumn 2020 for the same price. Or you if you cancel we'll refund any extras and upgrades paid to us with refunds for the accommodation element refunded separately by GFM who are the newspaper promotional operator from their trust account once we've told them you've contacted us to cancel your booking.


Questions about your holiday booking

We continue to update our FAQs in this continually evolving situation:

If you're closed, how long is this for?

We have temporarily closed our Parks to holiday guest from 23rd March to 2nd July and will be monitoring the situation on a regular basis to determine our plans for opening - we will be sure to keep our guests updated on our plans in the coming weeks.

If we don't want to travel, can we get a refund?

We have temporarily closed our Parks to guests from 23rd March to 2nd July 2020. For all bookings outside this period our normal terms and conditions apply.

If my holiday is cancelled, can we get a refund?

Guests with breaks between 23rd March and 2nd July will have the choice of moving their break to a later date or claiming a full refund and you can click here to see all your options. Details will be emailed to the lead guest directly, please do not contact us until you receive this email as we dealing with bookings in arrival date order.

If I booked through The Sun, what about my booking?

Rest assured, your money is safe in a Trust account held by the newspaper promotions and we will send you an email from us detailing the options available to you which includes the opportunity to change the date of your booking.

I'm arriving from 3rd July, do you know what is happening?

We recognise the importance of treading cautiously away from lockdown in order to control the pandemic and we know that the closure period may well extend further beyond 2nd July. We are taking small extension steps to ensure we can manage service to our guests and respond quickly to any changes in HM Government advice.

We know you will appreciate the situation regarding coronavirus is ever-changing and we are doing what we can to offer the best possible options for our guests. We will continue to closely monitor the situation on a regular basis and keep those guests due to arrive on or after 3rd July informed of any changes to their holiday in the coming weeks. We hope you understand that whilst we'd love to be able to give you an exact date, we will continue to be led by HM Government guidance to the ongoing situation.

I've been diagnosed with Coronavirus so can I cancel and get a refund?

We have temporarily closed our Parks to guests from 23rd March to 2nd July 2020. For all bookings outside this period our normal terms and conditions apply.

If someone is at high risk in my party, what should we do?

We do appreciate that some of our guests may be high risk due to a long-term or serious health problems, and that this can be a very worrying time. Although there is not a ‘you cannot travel’ restriction in place, this now also includes people over the age of 70 and pregnant women. Please call our Sales Support team on 01271 872 390 to discuss your options, you are of course, as above welcome to change your dates of travel. You should also refer to your own travel insurance policy at the soonest opportunity.

If I've got a balance to pay, should I go ahead and pay it ?

The normal terms and conditions apply to holidays outside of the temporary closed period from 23rd March to 2nd July. If you choose not to go ahead with your holiday then you'll forfeit your deposit, and the cost of Holiday Safeguard Scheme if you added this to your booking. However, if your holiday has been booked with Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks  you can look at moving your holiday and all the monies you've paid so far to a later date, please contact our Sales Support team using our online contact form and an advisor will reply to you within 14 days.

What if I've been made redundant or furloughed because of this and cannot afford to go?

We understand how hard it has been for everyone. We are therefore allowing you to move to your break to a different date, free of charge as long as you let us know outside 14 days prior to your arrival. You will need to re-book to another date in 2020 or 2021 and please note that if the replacement holiday is of lesser value the difference will be refunded by us. Should the holiday be of greater value than the difference is payable by you.

What if my employer has cancelled my leave to get company back up and running again?

We understand that everyone must get back to work where they can. We are therefore allowing you to move to your break to a different date, free of charge as long as you let us know outside 14 days prior to your arrival. You will need to re-book to another date in 2020 or 2021 and please note that if the replacement holiday is of lesser value the difference will be refunded by us. Should the holiday be of greater value than the difference is payable by you.

I don't have your Holiday Safeguard Scheme on my booking, what happens now?

Holiday Safeguard Scheme can only be added at the time of making your booking or paying the service charge element of newspaper promotional holidays, this cannot be added at a later date. If you do not have Holiday Safeguard Scheme on your booking then you should contact your travel insurance provider to see if they will cover you for cancellation.

I'm looking at moving my holiday to a later date, can I do that?

We will be in contact directly with all guests as quickly as possible in holiday start date order with the options available.

We understand that things are very unsettled right now and we're doing our best to give a variety of choices for you including encouraging you to move your booking to a later date when things are likely to be more certain both in all our lives and as to how we're able to operate our holidays. We are not charging any amendment fees to amend bookings.

Understandably we're currently receiving a high volume of calls and messages. We would urge you not to contact us right now, to allow us to deal with customers in arrival date order, we'll be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Is it best to cancel my holiday or to move it to a later date?

Whilst your original booking arriving up to 2nd July is cancelled, we are recommending that your holiday is deferred to a later date, and if you booked directly with Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks we're able to give you an extra credit on your next booking whether you choose a new holiday now or just want to hold the money in account to use when you're ready. However, we do recommend you choose a new date now as you can change it later.

Once things return to normal, which may be sooner in the UK than other countries plus we know that many families will want the reassurance of knowing the health system available, it is widely expected that there will be a huge surge in demand for UK holidays plus we will be required to strictly enforce essential social distancing measures so there will be limits to the number of guests on Park and in our venues. Holidays will book up incredibly fast whether it's for holiday parks or hotels and this level of demand is likely to push prices up and reduce availability significantly as families who have spent time in relative isolation at home then head to the seaside, countryside and rural locations that places like Woolacombe offer in abundance... not forgetting it's home to England's best beach.

That's why it is best to book a date in now to ensure you've locked in the availability at the current prices, or if you booked direct having the money held in account to use later. Many families will be looking to get away and for that reason a refund really isn't the best option right now as you'll likely have far fewer holidays to choose from and at far higher prices - after this challenging times everyone deserves a holiday!

If I have a Summer Parking pitch, what should I do?

A letter has been sent by email and by post explaining how the temporary closure affects you and what may happen going forward. We will keep you updated by email so have not been receiving our emails, please let us know your email address so important updates can be sent to you in good time.

If there is an outbreak on Park and I'm on holiday, what do I do?

If there is an outbreak on the Park where you are staying, our team will follow the guidelines from Public Health England and our local authorities. Please comply with any additional screening measures that are in put in place.

If you develop symptom that you feel may be Coronavirus (a high fever and/or a continuous new cough) however mild, please kindly:

  • Pack up your belongings and return home
  • Leave your key in your accommodation
  • Please call Park reception with your accommodation number

If someone is feeling ill at home, what should I do?

Anyone displaying symptoms of high temperature or new continuous cough, should stay at home. New HM Government advice also suggests that all party members within the household should now stay at home too, for a minimum of 14 days. Please do NOT travel to Park.

If I want to self-isolate, can I do it in a Holiday Home?

Our Parks are not suitable for self-isolation from coronavirus. Therefore you should follow HM Government guidance and self-isolate at home.

It's tough on everyone, how's the team doing?

We have considered our loyal and valued team members who many of them are locals in this decision and we will be doing our best to assist them where we can in this difficult time, For the vast majority we have been able to use the Government's furlough scheme to keep them ready for the moment we can safely start welcoming guests again. We know there are also many independent local business who rely on us to make their living and we appreciate this may be also be disappointing for them, we thank them for their continued support to our special North Devon community.

I have questions about the credit note option, can you help?

You can find full details on the dedicated future holiday credit note page.

When you do restart the season, what steps are you taking?

We are starting to look to the future and reviewing our entire operation to ensure that when the time is right we can open with the required enforceable social distancing measures in place.

Our holidays are all about families spending good times together and each of our Holiday Homes is entirely self contained with space around them, although we expect we will have to limit the number of guests staying in our Camping & Touring areas so at this time we have suspended new bookings to bring your own tent, tourer or motorhome in July and August 2020. Like all businesses, we will have to make some other changes but the good news is we are confident we can adapt in a way that provides reassurance to our guests and team members, but we will only restart the season when it safe to do so.

As part of our standard daily operations we have strict cleaning procedures on our Parks and we always pay particular attention to the public washrooms. Our public areas such as tables and surfaces in all our venues are already frequently santised with commercial cleaning products, as is each Holiday Home prior to the next guests arriving to it. The water in our swimming pools is chlorinated and the water in any private outdoor hot tubs with accommodation is treated with bromine, however there is no evidence that the virus is water borne.

Our team members are actively encouraged to practice 'social distancing' so apologies if we don't get to close, won't shake your hand or interact with you in the way you may have been accustomed to as a regular visitor.

We do encourage both our guests and team members to follow the advice of HM Government and NHS England in particular:

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 30 seconds using soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand santiser if soap and water is not available. The NHS has provided advice on how to wash your hands properly at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands 
  • Maintain good hygiene practices such as using tissues when coughing or sneezing, or your sleeve if you have no tissues, and disposing of tissues in the bin

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