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Center Parcs Longford Forest announces it will reopen from 13 July

Press release   •   Jun 23, 2020 10:58 IST

Center Parcs Ireland has announced it will reopen Center Parcs Longford Forest from Monday 13 July 2020.

The announcement comes after Center Parcs Longford Forest closed its doors on Friday 13 March in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

In line with government guidance, there will be social distancing and new safety measures in place to protect the families who visit each week and the company’s 1,000 employees.

Center Parcs’ CEO, Martin Dalby, said: “Although it was disappointing to have to close our forest resort within nine months of opening in Ireland, it was the right thing to do to keep our guests and staff safe. The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant effect on the whole country and we always said we would only reopen once we were 100% satisfied it was safe to do so. We’ve had our teams working around the clock to review everything we do, right down to the smallest detail, and we‘re now ready to open our doors again.

“We know that a lot of families were looking forward to their first Center Parcs break and we can’t wait to welcome you to the forest. Those families who have visited us before will notice some changes to the way we’re doing things, but the essence of a Center Parcs break will remain the same, offering a fantastic short break experience within 400 acres of natural woodland.”

The new measures to keep guests and staff safe include:

  • Reduced numbers of guests on each break
  • Changes to some activities to maintain social distancing
  • An enhanced cleaning regime for accommodation and central areas
  • Changes to arrival and departure times to allow more time for enhanced cleaning
  • Cashless payment only across the village
  • Online-only bookings and payment for activities
  • New takeaway service offering contactless delivery to lodges

Initially, the village will open without the Subtropical Swimming Paradise or Aqua Sana Spa. However, subject to government guidance, both facilities are planned to reopen from Monday 27 July.

CEO Martin Dalby said: “We know that the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is one of the biggest things our guests are looking forward to experiencing. We have been planning the changes needed to maintain social distancing, but the Subtropical Swimming Paradise has many different elements, including flumes, rapids and numerous changing rooms. We are working through what new capacities we will need to apply and how best to do that. We’re committed to reopening these facilities as soon as we are 100% satisfied we’re ready to do so. However, we know families have been looking forward to their breaks and we wanted to give our guests the option to visit us as soon as we could.”

Center Parcs has also introduced a ‘book with confidence’ guarantee which allows guests to cancel their break up to six days prior to arrival and still receive a full refund.

During the four-month closure period, the majority of the company’s 1,000 employees have been supported by the Government’s Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, and work is now ongoing to bring employees back to work and deliver a comprehensive training programme around new ways of working and safety procedures.

Martin Dalby said: “The successful closure and maintenance of Longford Forest has been a real testament to the commitment and adaptability of the team. It’s a huge undertaking and something of this scale has never been done in the history of our business, let alone by a team with less than one year of experience. We’ve all been impressed by the way people have quickly got used to new ways of working. I know the team are so excited to welcome our guests back to the forest!”

Martin has also been involved with the national Tourism Recovery Task Force. He said: “I was delighted and honoured to be asked to join the Tourism Recovery Task Force. It’s been hugely rewarding to be able to bring our 33 years of experience in the tourism sector to the table and I hope we are adding valuable insight. Hopefully we’re starting to see the first steps towards helping get Ireland’s fantastic tourism industry back up on its feet.”

Center Parcs’ five UK villages remain closed in line with the UK Government’s timeline for easing lockdown.

More details of the new measures can be found here.

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