Butlin’s shuts down two resorts overs fears of super-spreader guests from Tier 3

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Butlin’s is closing two of its resorts over fears people will travel from high-risk Tier 3 coronavirus areas and spread the deadly bug.

As millions more Brits are plunged into the toughest tier of the three tier lockdown system, Butlin’s is closing resorts in Bognor Regis and Minehead.

A spokesman said this was due to “the number of areas moving into Tier 3” and in order to “limit contact and avoid unnecessary journeys.”

The Bognor Regis site in Sussex will close on Friday – just a week after it reopened to visitors on December 11.

The sites will remain closed for at least the rest of 2020.

On Twitter, a Butlin’s spokesperson wrote: “Due to the number of areas moving into Tier 3 and to continue to keep our guests and team safe by following the latest government guidance of limiting contact and avoiding unnecessary journeys, we’re sad to say that we’ll be closing our Bognor Regis and Minehead resorts from Friday, 18th December, for the remainder of 2020.

“We know this will be disappointing for you and your family, particularly during this time of year.

“We’ve worked hard over the past few months to be as flexible as possible following the change in government advice, whilst continuing to give our guests a memorable and fun break and keeping you and our team safe.”

“As always, we’ll be in touch via email, SMS or letter to discuss your options.”

They directed customers to the booking options section of the Butlin’s website for further information.

They added: “We’d like to thank all of you for your support this year and we can’t wait to see you all again in 2021.”

Butlin’s third resort in Skegness announced in November it would be extending its closure for the remainder of the year, shortly after the Government announced the county would emerge from lockdown into tier 3 restrictions.

This also came after four members of staff tested positive for coronavirus at the Skegness resort in October.

A spokesperson for Butlin’s said at the time: “We can confirm that four team members have tested positive for coronavirus at our Skegness resort.

“We took immediate steps to isolate them upon symptoms being reported, in line with government guidance and our Covid safe protocols.

“We have fully complied with all the necessary NHS Test and protocol procedures and in line with track and trace requirements, we have also isolated a number of our team they could have come into contact with.

“We have had no further cases reported and the venues have been subject to robust and frequent cleaning routines.

“The safety and welfare of our team and guests is of the utmost importance to us and we’d like to reassure all guests that we have strict protocols covering hygiene, social distancing and PPE firmly in place to protect both our guests and team.”

On November 24 Butlin’s extended the closure of all three of its resorts until December 10.

Originally, Butlin’s had temporarily closed its resorts until December 3, as a result of England’s second national lockdown, but had to extend it by a week.

Bognor Regis resort director Jeremy Pardey told the Bognor Observer at the start of this month that his team was “raring to go” for the festive season.

He told the local paper: “We’ve gone to town in ensuring Christmas lives up to the guests’ expectation.

“It’s really exciting for us all.”

The resort first closed in March at the start of the UK’s coronavirus pandemic, before first reopening with a reduced capacity in July.

Traders in Skegness told LincolnshireLive they are considering closing until the new year after the closure of Butlin’s has caused a dramatic decrease in footfall.

Pubs, restaurants, hotels and bars have all been forced to remain closed under the restrictions.

For coastal towns like Skegness who rely heavily on the hospitality industry, the impact of lockdown and subsequent tier restrictions has been tough, but some traders say it has been tougher by the extended closure of some of the coast’s most popular attractions.