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Gloucestershire Business News

Adam Henson joins calls for clarity on opening

Countryfile presenter Adam Henson has echoed calls for the Government to provide the hospitality and leisure industry with greater clarity about when it will be able to reopen.

The Government's road map to relaxing coronavirus restrictions has earmarked July 4 as the earliest date for the final phase, which includes pubs, restaurants and leisure sites.

But trade organisations have called for a confirmed date to enable them to make the necessary preparations for reopening.

And Mr Henson, who runs Cotswold Farm Park at Guiting Power, has added his voice to those calls.

He told BBC Radio Gloucestershire: "Clarity would be really helpful.

"We are actually ready to go. We've got campsite wardens on site and we are pretty much all there. We could almost open tomorrow but we are aiming for July 4 like so many other people.

"But clarity would be hugely beneficial."

As well as the animals which draw visitors throughout the year, Mr Henson runs a working farm and a campsite with new lodges built ahead of this summer.

"We were so excited about the beginning of this season back in February," he said.

"We've had an amazing spring, a beautiful beginning to the year and unfortunately we haven't been able to benefit from that and neither have our visitors.

"We've got 53 staff on furlough from the farm park and that's been a huge help for them and for us, that's been a huge help for people all across the country."

He continued: "We are excited about being able to open, but we will only do it with the right responsibility, the right measures in place, keeping all our staff and our customers safe.

"Campsites are self-contained units so you are almost self isolated but with amazing access to this wonderful farm.

"It seems a sensible thing to let people come out and visit and we are very confident we can keep them safe."

UKHospitality has reiterated the urgent need for a clear opening date so its members can bring staff back from furlough and undergo the necessary work to meet safety guidelines.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "Businesses need time to prepare and the first step in giving them some much-needed clarity is confirmation of when they can open their doors again.

"This is particularly important for hotels and tourism, where 60 per cent of bookings are made more than two weeks in advance.

"If the sector is to reopen on July 4, that only gives us two weeks from this weekend, so time is of the essence."

She continued: "The latest GDP figures - with hospitality and tourism representing a quarter of the total decline - illustrated the powerful economic might of the sectors, so the country can ill afford delaying their return to trading."

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