THOUSANDS of people have been forced to leave the biggest caravan park in Europe after new coronavirus lockdown rules kicked in last night.
Bosses at Trecco Bay Caravan Park in Wales turfed out stunned holidaymakers after the site was forced to close suddenly due to strict new Covid laws.
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The owners of the park in Porthcawl said the site must go into "hibernation" at 6pm Tuesday to comply with new local lockdowns, reports Wales Online.
Parkdean Resorts, the company which runs the site, said all holidaymakers and holiday home owners currently on the site have been asked to leave the park "as soon as possible".
Under the new rules, people in affected regions can't leave that area – or go back to it – unless they have an exceptional reason.
Meetings of more than one household – except for support bubbles – are also banned.
One dad told of a last-minute rush to halt a family holiday after they were given hours to pack up and leave the site.
Sean Gattrell, 25, partner Chloe Brant, 21, baby Layla Gattrell, 14 months, and other family members were told to go home early after they arrived on Friday.
The family must now split up as he goes home to Newport – which is under lockdown restrictions – while his partner and child head to Cardiff, which isn't.
Sean said: “We overheard one of the Parkdean members say that at 6pm they were leaving.
"Customers were told they had to leave by 6pm.
"They just basically said with the restrictions coming in they had to close – the whole park had to close.
“We have had three-and-a-half to four hours to pack everything and get the baby ready to get off the site.”
Sean and his family, who have been told they will be refunded, faced a long journey home by bus and train.
“My partner and my baby are from Cardiff,” he added.
“It’s hard to get everything together because we had to bring extra for the baby.
“It’s mixed emotions – it’s sad because I live in Newport. I am separated from my partner and my baby.
“I’m in lockdown and they are not.
“Layla has enjoyed the holiday, but she is just so confused now.”
Trecco Bay falls within the Bridgend council area, which has new restrictions in place that mean bosses must close it with immediate effect.
New lockdown rules mean people can only enter or leave the areas with a reasonable excuse.
What are the new lockdown restrictions in Wales?
Ministers have enforced new restrictions following rising coronavirus rates in south Wales
More than a quarter of the population are affected by new restrictions.
Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport have been hit with tighter measures.
Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf are already in lockdown.
People will not be able to enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse.
Everyone aged 11 and over must wear face coverings in public indoor spaces.
Families and friends have also been told they can only meet outside.
And First Minister Mark Drakeford has urged people across Wales to only travel if essential.
Steve Richards, CEO of Parkdean Resorts, which owns Trecco Bay, said: "This closure will affect many businesses and jobs in Porthcawl who rely on the regular influx of tourists to the area and, of course, it will mean many hard-working Welsh people who account for over 90 per cent of our guests will now not be able to enjoy a well-earned break."
Since the park reopened on July 13, the company said more than 50,000 have visited the site.
It is not yet known how many holidaymakers are currently on the site, but Parkdean Resorts said all guests have now been asked to leave “as soon as possible”.
Mr Richards said: “Since reopening on July 11 for holiday home owners and 13 July for holiday makers, Trecco has welcomed over 50,000 people to the park.
“Holiday parks are by their nature typically located in rural, isolated locations by the coast and not in heavily populated urban areas.
“The caravans and lodges on our parks are individual, with no shared doors or communal areas, they are self-contained, self-catered and have no shared air-conditioning systems.
“On a wider level, it is also noted that since July 13, the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, has recorded 212 cases of Covid-19 over nine weeks, and 61 deaths from Covid in the entire Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board region."
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