National Trust For Scotland close properties in fight against Covid-19
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In an online statement, the National Trust For Scotland have decided to close all gated properties and suspend all planned events from Friday (March 20).
This means that all historic buildings, visitor centres, visitor facilities, cafes, shops and toilets will be closed, however outdoor spaces such as gardens and parks will remain open for the time being.
Their statement reads:
Our priority, first and foremost, is the wellbeing of our visitors, volunteers and staff.
We regret the disappointment this will cause, particularly given the popularity of our Mother’s Day events and Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, however public safety must come first.
Even so, we’re doing our very best to offer the public some respite at this difficult time.
We’ll be keeping our accessible gardens, country parks and gardens open free of charge, enabling visitors to escape isolation in a safe environment where ‘social distancing’ is easy to maintain.
This includes properties like Culzean Country Park and the landscapes and gardens surrounding Brodie and Brodick castles and Newhailes.
We’ll also carry on with planned investment projects at Gladstone’s Land in Edinburgh, Newhailes near Musselburgh and the House of Dun in Angus, as well as footpath repairs and other initiatives that ensure public access and protect habitats.
Our suspension also applies to commercial bookings, such as weddings and some holiday lets, as well as Thistle Camp working holidays, at least until the end of May, subject to ongoing review.
Full refunds will be offered to anyone who bought tickets for events – in the first instance you should contact the property where you made the booking.
Please be patient – due to the likelihood of a high volume of calls, and the fact that many of our staff are dispersed and working from home, it may take some time to arrange refunds.
Of course, if you wish your ticket price to be used as a donation, we’d be very grateful as this will help our charity through this disruptive period and allow us to keep on conserving our buildings, protecting our wildlife, cleaning our coastlines and looking after our landscapes, even in these most difficult of circumstances.
Our managers will be in touch with people who have made holiday or commercial bookings to discuss refunds and alternative arrangements.
We’ll be reviewing our decision on a continuous basis, with the aim of opening our properties again as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.
The Trust’s Chief Executive Simon Skinner said: "We know that this will be a big let-down for the many people who were looking forward to celebrating the arrival of spring at our properties after a long, hard winter.
"But we’re determined to make sure our members and visitors stay safe and well, and that’s why we felt we had no choice but to keep gated properties closed and cease all events for the time being.
"Cancelling events is a positive move to minimise the chances of large numbers of people being present at our properties at any one time, as per the guidance issued by the Scottish Government.
"The flipside of that is that we’re keeping many of our parklands, gardens and beautiful landscapes open to offer a green, clean and fresh respite from all the troubles we’re seeing at the moment.
"My message is that, with your continued support, the Trust will still be here after this outbreak abates and together we will ensure our national heritage will continue to offer you fabulous and inspirational places to visit and enjoy."
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