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An update from the Short Breaks service in relation to COVID-19

20 July 2020
An illustration of the coronavirus microscopically

We thank everyone for their understanding during this difficult time and urge everyone to keep following government guidance to keep themselves, their families and their young people safe and healthy.

Clubs and activities

With some of the government changes coming through we are starting to look at what our services may be going forward and when they may be able to resume.

We have been having regular meetings with all of our short breaks providers and want to firstly say a huge thank you to each and every one for their quick responses in offering alternative virtual services. We have received some wonderful feedback from families saying that their child has really enjoyed being able to stay in touch and take part in some clubs and also that they have found the providers' support calls and practical support invaluable.

We are aware that providers have been speaking to families and sending out surveys to see who would be interested in resuming some sort of face-to-face services. Many of these decisions depend on further government advice due on 4 July which could mean services going forward and into the summer holidays will look different from what you are used to.

With this in mind, you may have been or could be contacted by your club to answer a few questions. Please do take a few minutes to reply so that your club can ensure they are taking all the necessary steps to reopen.

Where online content has worked well, we are asking all providers to continue with this where possible. This is especially the case for children and young people who are either not able or not wanting to return to face-to-face contact.

We are still waiting for further guidance about clubs located within a school setting.

Please read our lead provider Essex Short Breaks: Clubs & Activities latest 'Hot off the press' newsletter for further details.

Please also read the latest updates from all of our providers.

Caravans

We are reopening our caravans from Monday 6 July in line with government guidance. If you have already made a booking, you will receive your payment link this week. We ask that payments are made no later than one week before your booking is due to take place.

Please read our guidance for caravan parks to find out what will be different and what you and our teams will need to do to say safe.

Check-in times have been changed to 4pm to allow the cleaning team extra time, and you must adhere to the 10am check-out time.

Here are some extra safety measures we are taking in our caravan sites:

  • Each caravan will have its own cleaning pack for you to use during your stay. The pack will include antibacterial sprays, floor wipes, antibacterial hand wash and coloured sacks to put your bed sheets in when you leave. You will still need to bring your own tea towels and towels and take them with you when you check out.
  • Our cleaners will be deep cleaning and sanitising each caravan in new personal protective equipment (PPE) before each stay. No one else will enter the caravan until you arrive.
  • You will need to bring your own duvets and pillows with you as we will not be able to provide these. We will supply bed sheets which will be washed at high temperatures with hospital-grade detergent. Unfortunately it would not be possible to do this with any bedding other than the bed sheets.
  • Before you leave, you need to take the bed sheets off the bed and leave them in a coloured sack from your cleaning pack. You should place the sack outside your caravan when you leave.
  • You must remove all rubbish from the caravan before you leave and place it in the large bins near your caravan.
  • Any items left in your caravan will be thrown away, so please double check the whole caravan when you leave.
  • All toys, games and DVDs will be removed from the caravans for the foreseeable future. Sensory equipment like fibre optic tails will be available and sterilised in between stays.
  • We will provide further detail shortly in regards to checking in and collecting keys as this is still being organised.

If you are shielding or feel unable to go away for your short break please email shortbreaks@essex.gov.uk as soon as possible with your booking reference number and we will cancel and refund your booking.

If you are displaying symptoms or have been in contact with anyone displaying symptoms, please do not attend your booking. The caravan sites have the right to remove anyone from the site or refuse entry if they believe them to be symptomatic and this would void your booking and refund.

If you'd like to make a booking, please visit our Book a caravan section and use your registered email address and passport ID number.

Max Cards and activity tickets

We have currently suspended all applications whilst we work out an online solution.

We are working with three attractions for activity tickets and regretfully have had to cancel Max Cards until further notice as there is no online solution. We will of course reinstate Max Cards as soon as we can.

Please see links below in relation to the three attractions we work with, with their updates on how COVID-19 is affecting them:

If you have already applied this year please do not apply again.  We are holding all of this years applications until we have a solution from the venues on how to proceed.

Beach huts

Our beach huts in Walton and Clacton will be open from Monday 6 July. You can book a beach hut in the normal way in our Beach hut section using your registered email address and passport ID number.

If you are displaying symptoms or have been in touch with anyone displaying symptoms, please cancel your break to receive a refund.  Please do not attend your visit if you are unwell.