BUSINESSES and attractions are putting special measures in place as they welcome back outdoor visitors for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.
Among those partially reopening in the New Forest are Buckler’s Hard village, the Beaulieu Estate attractions, and Exbury Gardens.
People are urged to follow government guidance, which includes staying away if displaying virus symptoms, and social distancing.
At Buckler’s Hard village the car park and toilets are open, with picnicking and walking along the Beaulieu River allowed. But the Maritime Museum, shipwright cottages, tea room and river cruise are still closed.
From tomorrow (Saturday) Beaulieu visitors will be limited to 500 and can explore the gardens, the cloister of Beaulieu Abbey and – for the first time – walk through private parkland usually used only for major events. A handful of the famous cars will be on show outside the garages.
Lord Montagu said: “While our collections and buildings tell fascinating stories, the grounds and gardens have tales to tell too.”
At Exbury Gardens online-only ticket booking will be among the Covid-19-secure practices, along with a daily visitor limit of 500 and staggered arrival times.
Regularly sanitised toilets will be available, and refreshments and sandwiches can be purchased Wednesday-Sunday. However, the steam railway trains and guided buggy tours will not be operating.
Lionel de Rothschild, chair of Exbury Gardens Trust, said: “There’s lots of room to roam and experience nature at its best, and we’re putting special protective measures in place to keep everyone safe.”
Sammy Miller is hoping the government will allow larger gatherings again by the beginning of July so he can reopen his world famous motorcycle museum in New Milton, with contingencies in place.
The pandemic has already forced the cancellation of a grand opening for its new two-storey, glass-fronted extension, due to have taken place on 15th May.
JD Wetherspoon, which operates The Six Bells in St Thomas Street, Lymington, has prepared for the government allowing pubs to open, promising to offer gloves, masks and
protective eyewear to employees.
Measures will include two full-time staff responsible for regularly cleaning surfaces, screens at the till point, and tables fixed to adhere to social distancing. Around 10 hand sanitiser dispensers will be in place around the pub.
Manager Beckie Graham said: “The safety of staff and customers is paramount.”
Family-run water sports business New Forest Paddlesport Company, based in High Street, Milford, has reopened for one-to-one lessons and hires. Strict social distancing restrictions are in place, with a reduced number of booking-only sessions.
Beaulieu-based New Forest Activities is also back running outdoors sessions, such as canoeing and bicycle hire, with strict social distancing and kit being disinfected after every use.