Date: 15th December 2020
Caravan Park owners have been angered by the Governments decision to single them out from the tourist accommodation providers and exclude them from the Covid Restriction Support Scheme (CRSS).
Many Caravan park operators registered for the CRSS on the understanding that as a seasonal accommodation provider, they would be eligible for the scheme. However, Revenue have turned down their applications stating that they “do not appear to operate from a business premises which, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, has been either temporarily closed to customers or is substantially restricted in allowing access to customers, with the result that you cannot continue to do business from your business premises.”
On the 4th of December, Revenue updated the CRSS Guidelines on their website which excludes all outdoor activity businesses. Camping and caravan sites have been explicitly listed as excluded from the CRSS scheme and have been included with the category of outdoor activities.
Con Quill, CEO of The Irish Caravan & Camping Council stated “that contrary to the Governments understanding of the sector, Camping and caravan sites are Failte Ireland registered and approved accommodation providers under the Tourist traffic acts and should be included in the CRSS Scheme along with all other accommodation providers. Camping and caravan sites have already been recognised by revenue as accommodation providers under the recent Stay and Spend Scheme.”
Camping and caravan sites do operate from a business premises which has fixed physical structures including Reception/shop buildings, facility buildings with laundry, kitchen, toilet, shower blocks etc. They pay Commercial rates, water rates, utility bills etc. on these business premises.
Many Camping and caravan sites had remained open longer this year (over 25% of them) to try and recoup lost trade due to earlier restrictions and reduced occupancy. However, they had been force to close in October due the level 3 and 5 restrictions. All those businesses lost the trade for the Halloween holiday break with all bookings being cancelled.
Camping and caravan sites have been included by the Government under Hotels, B&B’s, guesthouses and similar accommodation providers during all the levels of restrictions and have not had the benefit lighter restrictions and earlier opening dates that some outdoor activities like golf etc. were afforded.
Irish Caravan & Camping Council, Chairperson Niamh Darcy, stated “being extremely seasonal, these Camping and caravan businesses have been severely impacted like all other tourism accommodation providers by the COVID 19 public health restrictions. Many camping and caravan businesses face into a long and cold winter where demand is minimal particularly as a consequence of Covid restrictions, so it is vital that the measures announced in Budget 2021 are implemented efficiently for the sector to ensure as many businesses survive as possible.”
The Irish Caravan & Camping Council is asking that the CRSS scheme be made available to caravan and camping park so that they can strive to remain in business for when the recovery happens.
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FOR FURTHER INFO:
Con Quill, CEO – Irish Caravan & Camping Council
Tel. (086) 8568085
Guidelines on the operation of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (Revenue.ie)