East Devon attractions give mixed response to Government go-ahead for reopening
PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 June 2020
Some East Devon visitor attractions are preparing to reopen after the Government announced that certain sections of the leisure industry can reopen from Saturday, July 4.
Seaton Tramway and Stuart Line Cruises will open on that date, while Crealy Theme Park and Resort will partially reopen from Monday, July 6 for day visitors.
Bicton Park, Wildwood Escot and the gardens of Killerton House are already open.
The Devon Association of Tourist Attractions (DATA), has given a ‘cautious welcome’ to the revised Government guidelines, but said many member attractions feel it is too difficult and risky financially to reopen at this stage, given all the restrictions still involved.
These include limiting visitor numbers, changes to opening times, a mandatory pre-booking policy, contactless payments, one-metre plus social distancing measures, hand sanitising stations and pre-entry temperature checks.
DATA’s chairman Dick Wood said: “We have been hanging around waiting for weeks for some good news from the Government as to when we might be able to reopen, and today’s news will be very welcome to many of our members who have had a torrid time, with many wondering if they might even have a future.
“But, like so many Government announcements, the devil will be in the detail for us and so we will all be studying the revised guidance and regulations very carefully to check how these affect our businesses, and what we can do.”
Among the East Devon visitor attractions that have yet to confirm their reopening plans are Pecorama in Beer, World of Country Life in Exmouth and The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth.
A spokesman for The Donkey Sanctuary said: “Unlike other visitor attractions, we have numerous entry points to our sanctuaries, along with areas of very high footfall in the centre of our site; this makes it difficult to safely manage the number of people coming onto site and to encourage responsible social distancing.”
Seaton Jurassic hopes to open at the beginning of August but has not given a date at this stage.
Mr Wood said: “Some attractions will decide that they are unable to re-open for normal daily operations this year unless circumstances change significantly and quickly, and focus instead on 2021.
“But most will be looking into trying a limited if not full operation this summer and also for Christmas if possible.”
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