Whilst Covid-19 has the country on lockdown and kept us all indoors, only one thing can save the British summer – and that’s camping. It's great that the country going to be opening up again – but we’re pretty sure the real question at the back of everyone’s mind is . . . what's the deal with camping during Covid?
With the situation changing and a new roadmap put in place, the return to the 'old normal' feels so close, a weekend outdoors under canvas may be a welcome balm. Here’s what we know about the (near) future of camping in the UK.
PLEASE NOTE – all information is as given at the time of writing. Remember that much of this is subject to change.
Can I go camping yet?
SOON! For Step 2 which set to be April 12th Self-contained accommodation where indoor facilities are not shared can re-open which means campsites can reopen, just be aware that shared toilet and shower facilities will be closed until further restrictions are lifted. Take a look at our Facility Free Camping Guide for how to camp comfortably without a shower block or toilets.
So, when do campsites open?
Provisionally campsites will be allowed to open from April 12th in England, Wales have yet to announce their plans it is expected the First Minister will make an announcement on 12th March. In Scotland, it is predicted that campsites will reopen in the last week of April, In Northern Ireland, the regulations are going to reviewed on the 18th March.
What about wild camping.
The rules around wild camping have always been open to some interpretation - see our guide here. If anything, wait until 12th April in England and wait for further announcements to be made from Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland about travelling and overnight stays.
Though it may soon change, it doesn't mean that Wild Camping is any more legal in England - where most land is considered private. In Scotland Wild Camping has always been treated more leniently, but in the current situation, we'd say it’s better to opt for a proper site.
Is it safe to go camping?
As with everything else at the moment, camping is something that needs to be risk-assessed and approached sensibly. That said, there are a number of factors that suggest camping is a fairly low-risk activity if done right.
Campsites have lots of open space and should make social distancing easy. There is also evidence to suggest that infection is much more difficult in the open air – where particles can disperse quickly. If you are cooking your own food and sleeping in your own tent, with other people within your family or close group, then there is little increased risk of catching Covid-19.
But what about toilets and facilities?
As with all parts of life at the moment, the pandemic will mean some changes to how things operate on site.
From 17th May in England there will be no limitations placed on sites with shared facilities as long as they are kept 'Covid-secure'. ~This can be interpreted in several ways, and clarity hasn't been great on this issue, but some general common sense suggestions come to mind. We are still waiting for guidance from Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland
Toilet and shower blocks may require a distanced queueing system and more frequent cleaning may be put in place. Some campsites could be forced to close their facilities for sections of the day, to allow deep cleaning.
Similarly, onsite shops and caterers may make similar changes to how they serve customers, with a quota on how many people are permitted access at any one time.
Other temporary measures can include:
- Cleaning products and hand sanitiser being made available
- Self-check in/out
- Increased minimum spacing between pitches
- Staggered or ‘bookable’ shower times
The important thing is that both campers and campsite owners take their safety, and that of everyone else, seriously. If you have any doubts about the ‘covid-security’ of your chosen campsite, why not ring ahead and have a conversation with the staff about what systems they have put in place.
Can I book a campsite now?
Yes! You certainly can. Of course, it is worth remembering that rules and openings can change in line with the wider pandemic situation – so it’s best to check with the site or booking agent that you can cancel or transfer to future date if necessary. The majority of campsites are already offering increased flexibility with bookings and offering ‘coronavirus guarantees’.
What about camping abroad?
Currently travel abroad is prohibited to prevent the spread of covid varients. There is currently no information about when foreign travel will be allowed again.
With camping back on the agenda, what better time to check and repair your gear. If you find you want an upgrade or replacement, then our range of tents and equipment is second to none.