Cleaning the toilets is not usually too high up on the list of fun activities planned for the family on summer holidays.
But guests at Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park in Cornwall have been told their bookings may be in jeopardy unless they do just that.
In an email headed ‘Dunkirk Spirit’, they appealed for volunteers to chip in with chores and ‘help clean toilet blocks’ amid concerns over a potential shortage of staff over the summer months.
Owner Patrick Langmaid, 56, said the holiday spot, in Padstow, has seen two ‘healthy’ members of staff told to self-isolate for 10 days after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Test and Trace app, adding that it has left him with little other choice but to ask guests if they would be prepared to lend a hand.
The email read: ‘Dear Guest, apologies if this email causes distress, but, we are perilously close to closing our toilet blocks and cancelling touring holidays, all because healthy staff who’ve tested negative are nevertheless required by law to self-isolate following an NHS ‘ping’.
‘With your help, toilet blocks could be kept open, and touring holidays saved.
‘The crunch time will be from now through to end-August (We reckon that by September the law will have been changed to allow healthy staff with negative tests to continue working).
‘Please email [email protected] if you are willing to give up some of your own holiday to help save holidays for touring guests like you. The work will involve cleaning toilet blocks.
‘I appreciate this is a very big ask, and many of you will either not be able to help, or will not wish to help, and that is of course fine.
‘These are, however, desperate times and we are exploring all our options, so we know which way we have to jump if too many of our team is ‘pinged’, leaving us unable to keep toilet blocks cleaned and guests safe.
‘Please be assured that if we are forced to cancel holidays then we will be making full refunds, not rearranging dates.
‘We are sending this email to test the water, and we look forward to hearing from any touring guest who is able to offer help cleaning toilet blocks during July and August.’
Mr Langmaid said: ‘I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s holiday, I am genuinely exploring all means to keep the business open while healthy people are still being told to isolate.
‘If you drill it down it’s a far more serious issue. I’m fully recruited. It has nothing to do with hiring staff. Two out of my 27 members of staff have been pinged from the app.
‘One was pinged because her partner had tested positive and quite rightly isolated.
‘The second received a ping, and was provided with the PCR tests from us as I owe them a duty of care as their boss. It came back negative as did the several lateral flow tests.
‘I give my workers full wages while isolating so staff make the right decision.’
He went on: ‘My guests are holiday hungry and for their own well-being it would be a shame to cancel their long-awaited trip.
‘I wouldn’t want to be met with calls of “Oh Patrick if you had only asked us rather than cancel our holiday I would have been more than willing to help”.
‘I thought I should at least test the waters.’
However, some guests were not thrilled at the idea of spending their down time scrubbing the loos.
One disgruntled holidaymaker said: ‘They use guilt tripping language almost likening this situation to Dunkirk.
‘I just can’t believe a holiday might be cancelled if I don’t want to spend my time cleaning the communal toilets.
‘It’s just horrifically inappropriate to ask paying customers to scrub away.
‘If they are willing to plough in the effort and manpower for that, surely a better use of their time would be to hire more members of staff.’
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