Hays Travel set to reopen branches offering customers holidays from as early as July
Hays Travel branches are set to reopen to the public this week as customers look to book holidays for later in 2020.
The travel agent will gradually begin to reopen its branches to the public from Thursday, June 18, following months of closure during lockdown.
Since May, 3,000 Hays Travel staff have been working from home, after bosses John and Irene Hays reported a surge in people booking winter holidays.
And now as lockdown restrictions are eased to allow non-essential shops to reopen, Hays Travel branches will start to welcome a limited number of customers through their doors this week.
The business has confirmed that it has had some customers that are booking holidays for as soon as late July, however it stressed that customers are still advised to check government advice on travel.
Hays Travel has operated from its base in Sunderland for 40 years and has around 650 shops around the UK, employing more than 4,500 people.
The business, which took over 555 Thomas Cook shops and thousands of its staff when the firm went bust last year, has confirmed that the safety of both customers and staff will be the priority as it reopens.
Plastic screens and hygiene measures have been put in place across its branches to enable social distancing.
Entry to the shops will be limited, with customers able to call ahead to book appointments, while services will still be available online, by phone, video conferencing and email.
John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel, said: "We are really looking forward to being back serving our customers in our shops, but we will only do it in the safest possible way for all of us.
"More than 3,000 retail staff have been working from home to keep services going virtually since the lockdown began and we will continue to provide a number of different ways to contact us, including Zoom and Facetime email or a phone call.
"More customers are now booking holidays for later this year or 2021.
"They are choosing a variety of destinations such as Greece, the Balearics and the Canaries, and on selected new bookings we are offering our Peace of
Mind Guarantee, meaning that if our customers need to cancel or change for any reason within six weeks of departure, they can have a full no quibble refund with no cancellation charges."
Foreign and Commonwealth Office restrictions on all immediate non-essential travel are still in place and Hays Travel is working hard to contact people who were due to travel within the next four weeks and rebook or process refunds.
Irene Hays added: "It's encouraging to hear that there may soon be reciprocal arrangements with some countries to allow holidays in parts of Europe later in the summer.
"Like everyone else we will wait and see but in the meantime we are here and available in different ways to help our customers.”