MINEHEAD'S Butlin's resort will close for a nearly a month from Friday, the company announced this lunchtime (Wednesday, March 18).

A spokesman for Butlin's said: "Following the latest Government advice, we can confirm that we have taken the decision to temporarily close our three Butlin's resorts - Minehead, Bognor Regis and Skegness from March 20 to April 16, 2020.

"We know how disappointing this will be for all those guests who are booked to stay with us during this time but hope that they will understand why we have made this very difficult decision.

"The safety and wellbeing of our guests and our teams must be our first priority at this unprecedented time.

"All guests affected by the closure will be contacted but we will be prioritising those who are booked to travel within the next 14 days.

"We would like to thank our guests for their patience whilst we work through this as quickly as we can."

Butlin's say the situation is being closely monitored and guests are being asked to keep an eye on the Butlin's website and social media feeds for updates.

The Butlin's statement concluded: "We would like to apologise to everyone for this disruption and thank our teams for their support.

"We look forward to welcoming our guests back to enjoy our renowned Butlin’s hospitality when we reopen."

MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has welcomed the decision by Butlins to close its Minehead centre for a month.

He says he knows many local people will be relieved at the removal of what they perceived to be a threat to local bio-security during the coronavirus emergency.

Butlins came in for huge criticism in the town for continuing to host week-end events which attracted more than 5,000 guests from all over the country.

But the adult week-end which finished on Sunday will be the last. Another, similar event scheduled for this week-end has been cancelled as has the annual Spring Harvest religious convention scheduled for April.

Families in and around Minehead had been raising a petition calling for the centre’s closure, particularly in view of the fact that many other, smaller events in the area were being called off.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “I hope my constituents in West Somerset will be reassured that what they saw as an unacceptable risk has now been removed,” he said.

“My only regret is that it has taken this long for the common-sense decision finally to arrive and to put an end to the worry and uncertainty.

“My thanks go to the members of the Butlins team for taking this step. I know this is going to have quite significant implications for the company, particularly in terms of employment, but I hope they will be able to work through all that and that this crisis will be sufficiently controlled and dealt with to enable the centre to safely re-open for the summer season in due course.”