Staycationers desperate to get away over Easter have been telling holiday lets they will pay in cash, hide their cars and arrive at night in bid to avoid getting caught breaking Covid rules.
The owners of self-catering holiday accommodation in the UK have criticised would-be holidaymakers who have asked to book discrete getaways despite the ongoing coronavirus restrictions meaning overnight stays are not allowed.
Holiday cottages, caravan parks and other self-catered accommodation will be able to welcome guests from a single household as of April 12.
But many holiday-cottage owners claim they are coming under increasing pressure from Brits keen to get away ahead of the Government’s easing.
Jill Taylor (pictured) owns the South View Lodges at Shillingford St George, near Exeter, said she has received dozens of calls in recent weeks from people desperate for a holiday
The South View Lodges site (pictured) at Shillingford St George, near Exeter, Devon, comprises of five lodges set in six acres
Jill said most people do not have genuine reasons for staying, such as travelling for work, with most wanting to celebrate birthdays at the site (pictured)
Jill Taylor owns the South View Lodges at Shillingford St George, near Exeter, Devon, comprising of five lodges set in six acres.
She said she has received dozens of calls in recent weeks from people desperate for a holiday.
‘They are quite happy to pay cash on arrival. They say they won’t go on any social media platforms and they won’t let anyone know they are here and they will even leave their vehicle parked somewhere in a lay by or a gateway down the road so no one knows they are actually here,’ she added.
Jill said most people do not have genuine reasons for staying, such as travelling for work, with most wanting to celebrate birthdays.
Sue Jewell (pictured) owns a dog-friendly holiday let in Cornwall
The owner of a dog-friendly holiday let near Looe, Cornwall, said she had also received pre-April 12 inquiries from people contacting her via Air BnB – including one man who said he wanted to travel down for a ‘house viewing’ in the area.
Sue Jewell, of Boturnell Farm Cottages, said: ‘I have turned that down because I am not comfortable with it…
‘I ended up almost having an argument with the chap with his house viewing who told me yes he could [visit the area], but if I don’t take [the booking], and I am not going to, there are going to be people who do.’
Tourism bosses in the region say they have received numerous complaints from businesses about suspected holidaymakers.
They are concerned about the effect another lockdown would have on their sector.
Visit Devon director Sally Everton said: ‘There are many many properties in Devon that you still can book and you can book them as of today.
‘That concerned me and out of all those I saw only one actually said could you please disclose the reason why you are travelling.’
Ms Jewell, who owns the dog-friendly holiday let (pictured) near Looe, Cornwall, said she had also received pre-April 12 inquiries from people contacting her via Air BnB
In a statement Air B&B said during lockdown ‘stays on AirBnB are only available in limited circumstances, in line with Government guidance.
‘This is made clear on our website, which restricts bookings to these legal exemptions.’
Meanwhile Devon and Cornwall police confirmed they are investigating a closed social media group which is allegedly encouraging owners of holiday lets and potential customers to breach Covid rules.