Covid 19 visitor centre safety measures

NWT Chief Executive Pamela Abbott meets Cley catering Manager, Janine Shea at Cley Marshes
It has been nearly four months since we closed our five centres and bird watching hides around the county to help fight the spread of coronavirus in Norfolk. As the situation and Government guidance progresses, we have been working hard to put new procedures and safety measures in place to enable some of our centres to reopen, albeit with some restrictions.

Our visitor centres will closely follow Government covid guidance. We know many have been enjoying walking along the paths and East Bank at Cley overlooking the marshes. Although at the moment we must keep the hides and access boardwalk closed for safe social distancing measures, we are pleased to be able to offer toilet facilities and a small take away menu.

We have produced a comprehensive guide for our staff and site managers, along with a covid risk assessment. Below you will find some insight into the preparations we have made to ensure safety, and to let you know of the measures we have put into place that you can expect on your visit. The full document is available on request.

We are truly grateful to our members and visitors for being patient with us during the lockdown and for following the North Norfolk Coast’s ‘enjoy, respect, protect’ plea. will continue to review the situation in light of any Government updates.

Signage and limiting visitor numbers

We have installed safety signage throughout every visitor centre. This includes instruction around social distancing measures, hand sanitisation stations and directional signage to help manage the flow of visitors.

Our centres vary in size and layout, so to help keep everyone safe, we will limit the number of customers visiting at any one time. 

 

External queues

This might mean at times that visitors need to queue outside of the buildings. We will use signs and floor graphics to indicate direction of travel and safe distances for the queues.

Entrances and hand sanitising

Most doors will have clear signage as  entrance or exit doors only. They will remain open where possible to reduce touch points. We have installed touch free sanitiser units at each centre which we request visitors use as they enter the building. 
 

Face Coverings

In line with Government advice the wearing of face coverings by all visitors will be mandatory from 24 July unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from doing so or are under 11 years old. Any visitor now entering the building, as it is a retail space, will now by law be required to wear a face covering. From the 24 September the Government has stated that all staff are required to wear face coverings in catering and retail settings and all visitors are additionally now required to wear a face covering in a catering setting except when they are seated at a table to eat or drink. 

Social distancing, furniture and layout

In the centres we have signs reminding visitors about safe distancing and floor graphics to ensure spacing around the welcome desks and counters.
 
At each centre we have reviewed the furniture layout to ensure there is adequate space for staff and visitors to move around in safely. In some areas we have used tables and other fixtures to create social distancing pathways. 

All reception desks and catering counters will have a protective screen in place.

Please only approach the desks to make payment or receive products. Our staff will not hand retail items directly to you, and we ask you please hold items with the price facing the staff so they can be easily viewed. 

Cafe offering

At catering counters, again please use the safe social distancing floor graphic and only approach the counter when directed to pay or receive refreshments. These will be placed on the counter not self-selected by visitors. 

In addition to the take away only offer we have now expanded limited internal seating at Cley Marshes and Holme Dunes visitor centres. Visitors will be directed to tables and all orders will be processed at the table. For those visitors seated at a table consuming refreshments we will be collecting visitor details as part of the government Test and Trace system. Visitors also have the option of submitting their details if they have the Covid NHS app by scanning the Covid NHS QR Code poster that will be on display at the entrance to the centres.(Visitors should only remove face coverings if they are seated at a table consuming refreshments).

We will continue to increase our menu offer for seated visitors over the coming weeks and months. We acknowledge that the extra use of single use packaging will have to increase in line with this but the vast majority of this will be recyclable.

Visitor services, social distancing and transactions at our tills

We will continue to deliver a warm, knowledgeable service that you expect at our visitor centres. It might be that some of the points of engagement take a little longer than normal and we ask you to bear with us while we all adapt to this new way of working. 

We ask that payments are made by contactless card only (which have now been raised to £45 limit); with rare exceptions will we consider other methods of payment. 

We also ask that visitors try to only handle stock which they are intending to buy. Any unwanted stock that is touched and not purchased must be handed in to the reception desk where it will be either sanitised or quarantined for 48 hours. 

 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): what we are providing 

PPE and its safe and sensible usage during the Covid 19 outbreak is fundamental to our approach.

Staff at all centres have access to comprehensive PPE kits that include customer sanitising stations, disposable gloves, disinfectant spray, hand sanitisers, hazard tape, face masks, face visors and protective screens. We already have stringent hygiene rules in place as part of our food management system, but all staff have now been directed to increase hand sanitisation throughout the day to minimise the threat of infection. 

At our other visitor centre nature reserves

  • Centres will be open currently only be open from 10am – 4pm everyday. The takeaway menu service in the cafes will run all day for the same time period. Seated café users must place orders 30 minutes prior to the centre closing.
  • All NWT car parks are now fully open at Hickling Broad, Holme Dunes and Cley and Salthouse Marshes. We will resume charging for parking at Holme Dunes from 13 July and at NWT Cley Beach car park from 18 July. We have not placed specific social distancing measures on parking but we request all visitors to remain mindful of social distancing measures when arriving or leaving from their vehicles.
  • Our centres will be cleaned on an enhanced touch point cleaning regime throughout the day.
  • Our visitor toilets will be open as usual with enhanced cleaning regimes and regular touch point cleaning through the day. All toilets will be run on a single person or where possible a single household entry. At NWT Cley Marshes the toilet provision will currently be enhanced by portable toilets placed in the upper car park.  
  • External seating will be available for visitors and limited internal seating for café users. 
  • Events – We have been particularly saddened during this period of closure to not be able to deliver on our usual comprehensive range of events activities at all sites and we are hoping that we will be able to recommence with this in October. We will shortly be posting a programme for Cley for the October to December period and we are hopeful that we will be able to achieve this within the government guidelines but please keep up to date through our website of any possible changes to this. In the meantime we have a new range of digital events which began with an in discussion event with Patrick Barkham and NWT’s Nick Acheson  and they will continue over the autumn. Please keep an eye on the website and on our social media channels for more information. For details of what events are running and for event procedures please contact the visitor centres directly.
 

Hickling Broad

The Hickling Broad car park is open as usual. At NWT Hickling Broad we continue to have a one way route system in place around the reserve which allows for some alternate routes to be taken. Some small single access points have been closed currently. The access to Stubb Mill through the reserve from the Whiteslea track is wide enough accommodate a two way system but as always we request visitors to be mindful of safe social distancing. The boat trail at Hickling is now running, please refer to the boats page of the website for further details. (We will keep you informed with future updates). Normal reserve entry charges will apply. 
 

Holme Dunes

All NWT car parks at NWT Holme Dunes will be open from 13 July as usual and the reserve will be open. The first hide and the access route to this is now open, all other hides currently remain closed. The reserve entry point to the back of the dunes system will be open. Normal reserve entry charges will apply.
 

Cley and Salthouse Marshes

All NWT car parks at NWT Cley and Salthouse Marshes are open as usual. Access to the reserve will be restricted currently with only Bishops and Babcock hides open. All other paths on the reserve remain open as usual. There are no one way systems in place but we request that visitors remain mindful of social distancing guidelines. There will currently be no reserve entry fee at Cley as this is so closely linked with the access routes and entry to the hides.   
We look forward to now welcoming visitors to our centres once again.