THE government decision to allow camping and caravan holiday parks to open in England has been a welcome relief for angling venues around the country.
Many parks specialising in angling holidays have been losing tens of thousands of pounds a month since lockdown started in March.
July 4’s lifting of restrictions, and a new 1-metre social distancing minimum rule, was a welcome boost.
And just after English venues adjusted to their ‘new normal’, and reopening with safety measures, carp anglers were heading to France in numbers. That became possible as quarantine rules to and from many countries were finally relaxed.
Angling holidays ‘welcome relief’
Down in Devon, Stafford Moor co-owner, Jo Coombes, said Boris Johnson’s holidays decision amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis was long overdue.
Jo told Angler’s Mail: “The news was a really welcome relief, as we’ve basically lost four months money from holiday customers for the lodges and caravans.
“Our customers have been brilliant though, and those that couldn’t come from March to June have either booked up again for later in the year or for the same week next year.
“They’ve been so understanding and made it a lot less stressful than it could have been.”
Jo continued: “We’ve done so much work over the past five years, we weren’t going to let this beat us though.
“We were in the middle of building two new lodges when the lockdown began, but we moved the builders on site to finish the work.
“We’d promised the work so were determined to carry on with it, and we’ll now have those for the years to come, but it was hard with no income coming in.
“We’ve been up and running with the fishing and have lots of safety measures in place, so the holidays will be just as safe. Nobody is allowed into the tackle shop without using the hand sanitisers,” added Jo.
Welcome back to Paradise
Long-established Anglers Paradise, in Devon, is also feeling the strain of no holiday income for the past few months.
Boss Zyg Gregorek explained: “We are running tight corners at the moment, as there are many bills to pay and no holiday income.
“We’re fully booked for the eight weeks (after July 4), but those customers would have been here over the past few months, so we’ve lost out and our insurance company is also not playing ball. It has been very challenging.
“The bar will be open, but it will have to run differently, and I’m not sure if guests will be able to have their free glass of homemade fruit wine on arrival, but they will still get a bottle,” added Zyg.
Holidaymakers ok – but no day tickets
Meanwhile, top southern angling club Christchurch AC has announced that it will allow visiting holidaymakers to buy weekly and fortnightly permits to fish their waters.
But the Dorset club have stopped all day ticket sales throughout the 2020/21 season.
A club statement said: “The club has restricted access for non-members throughout the resumption of angling while lockdown is in place.
“Guest tickets are currently suspended until August, when their status will be reviewed again. All exchange books are also suspended for a similar time frame.
“By preventing the casual use of our venues by non-members, we hope to make access for our members as safe and comfortable as possible.
“Our members always take priority, and this measure has been in place to best serve their interests.
“Annual, seven- and 14-day memberships remain open and available online, direct from our office (01202 480009) or from local tackle shops.”
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