- A chain of UK vacation camps told guests they’d be kicked out for 24 hours to respect the Queen’s funeral.
- Center Parcs was criticized for the move, which came just the day after it said its sites wouldn’t close.
- It has since backtracked on the decision, saying guests can stay, but that facilities will be closed.
A chain of UK holiday sites was bombarded with criticism after asking guests to leave their vacation homes for 24 hours for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Center Parcs — which operates woodland-based vacation camps with activities like archery, kayaking, and mini-golf — said on Tuesday that it would be closing its five UK sites on Monday, September 19 “as a mark of respect and to allow as many of our colleagues as possible to be part of this historic moment.”
The company said on Twitter that its sites, which it calls “villages,” would close from 10:00 a.m. Monday “with all staff and guests leaving.”
It told guests who would be staying there on both Sunday and Monday night that they would be able to leave their belongings and return from 10:00 a.m. Tuesday.
Center Parcs said that guests who were set to arrive on Monday should arrive on Tuesday instead.
It said that guests would get a discount or a full refund if they chose to cancel and would receive an email with further information.
“We hope our guests will understand our decision to support our Queen on her final journey,” Center Parcs said in a statement.
However, the company was quickly blasted by social-media users who questioned the decision.
“You’re closing your sites at very short notice as a mark of respect, while showing very little respect for your customers,” one comment on Facebook read.
Guests asked whether they were expected to find alternative accommodation for Monday or whether they should return home for the night. Some said they were considering canceling their whole trip to Center Parcs.
Many guests also pointed out that Center Parcs’ announcement came just the day after it said its sites would stay open as usual on Monday.
After the backlash, Center Parcs revised its decision, telling the BBC on Tuesday evening that guests who were due to stay at the site on both Sunday and Monday nights would not be asked to leave. It said that this was only a “very small number” of guests. It said that facilities, including restaurants, would remain shut and guests would be offered a discount because of this.
However, guests set to arrive on Monday would still only be able to check in on Tuesday, Center Parcs told the BBC.
Centers Parcs didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The UK Government says that businesses aren’t obliged to close during the 10-day “national mourning” period between the Queen’s death and her funeral.
“Depending on the nature and location of their business and the tone of planned events, some businesses may wish to consider closing or postponing events, especially on the day of the State Funeral, however this is at the discretion of individual businesses,” it said in a guidance document.
Some businesses are, however, choosing to close for the day, including supermarkets, museums, and cinemas.