MINEHEAD is gearing up for a major influx of visitors as Butlin’s prepares to re-open later this month.

The holiday resort is a key player in supporting Minehead’s economy, with many businesses benefitting from custom the custom of tourists staying at the campsite.

Butlin’s has announced it well once again welcome guests at the campsite from Friday, July 24, more than four months after closing due to the coronavirus.

While Minehead’s footfall has picked up in recent weeks with the easing of lockdown restrictions meaning retailers and much of the hospitality sector have been able to re-open.

But footfall is not at the level it would normally be this time of year, and factors include social distancing, some people still being hesitant to return to the shops, pubs and restaurants, but also because Butlin’s has been closed.

As for Butlin’s guests, there will still be quite a few changes compared to a normal stay.

A spokesman for Butlin’s said: “Now the Government have given us the go-ahead to put on outdoor performances this summer, we’re pulling out all the stops with shows from big star names on new grand outdoor stages, indoor venues for exclusive cinema-style screenings, our pools are open and we’ve got an entertainment schedule full to the brim.”

Changes will see a new circus-style tent to host live shows in a safer environment, while indoor venues will become cinema-style venues.

Butlin’s swimming pool will be open, but guests will have to book sessions, use a one-way system around the pool, have restricted numbers on water slides and a limited number of people in the changing rooms.

The fairground will re-open with guests being asked to sanitise their hands as they enter and exit every ride, and there will be limited numbers on each ride.

However the dodgems, helter skelter and the super slide will not be open. Accommodation rooms will have been thoroughly cleaned, sanitised and sealed before arrival.

Meanwhile Butlin’s is also now home to a pop-up Covid-19 testing centre.

A Somerset County Council spokesperson said: “Mobile Coronavirus testing units are now in place across the county, including Butlins in Minehead.

"These are in addition to the regional testing site located at Taunton Racecourse.

"If you have Coronavirus symptoms of a new continuous dry cough, high temperature or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you must self-isolate and book a test.

"You can book a test online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119, and you will be directed to attend your nearest testing unit.

"Please do not drive to a mobile testing site without prior booking.”