Couple’s ‘horrendous’ stay at holiday park before being struck down by Covid-19

A woman has been struck down by coronavirus after staying at an "unhygienic" and "horrendous" holiday park.

Marion Grealis said she and her partner tested positive for Covid-19 four days after returning from the Craig Tara in Ayr, Ayrshire.

The 49-year-old was shocked to discover a "stinking" smell of rotten food when they arrived at their self-catering apartment on September 21.

Marion, of Dalkeith near Edinburgh, told the Daily Record they pulled back the fridge to find a large spillage of either milk or cream which had gone off and was attracting flies.

She was then disgusted to discover a fingernail lying on the floor and what appeared to be dried blood on the radiator and claimed all the plates were unwashed.

She said: “The smell was rotten. At first we couldn’t work out where it was coming from, it was horrendous.”

Shocked at the lack of cleaning in the apartment, which Marion thinks had been untouched since the departure of the last guests, the couple contacted reception first thing the next morning.

Marion said: “I obviously wanted us to be moved to new accommodation but I was told there was none available.”

Instead, three cleaners were sent to the apartment.

However, Marion says none of the cleaning staff had masks or any other form of PPE and did not address the major problems with the apartment.

She said: “Not one had a mask on. They came with one spray bottle and sprayed the carpet and then left.

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“No plates were cleaned, it was still unhygienic. Obviously we still weren’t satisfied.”

Marion again complained at reception and asked to speak with a manager but was told the manager was unavailable.

As a result she phoned the Haven holiday head offices.

She said: “I was left on hold for an hour.

“When I told them what happened the first thing they said was ‘what do you want us to do about it?’

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“They then told me they couldn’t move our accommodation but would organise cleaners.

“I said there’s no point, we’ve already tried that.”

It was then that Marion and her partner took the decision to cut their holiday short and left on Wednesday, September 23 despite having paid to stay until the Friday.

She said: “It was hardly a holiday when I had spent the whole first day at reception about the mess.

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“We asked about a refund but were told we would get a ‘cleaner refund’ but I don’t know how much that will be.”

She added: “We didn’t stay long but I did see people going about the park and no one was wearing a mask.”

After returning home, Marion noticed she was developing a slight cough.

The red flag came when she suddenly lost all sense of taste and smell and realised she had to get a coronavirus test before returning to her work in a restaurant.

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She said: “It was frightening. It came out of nowhere, there was no gradual build. My taste and smell just went really quickly.

“My partner got tested as well but didn’t start developing symptoms until after me.”

Both Marion and her partner tested positive for the virus following their tests at Edinburgh Airport on September 27.

When she was contacted by NHS track and trace teams she informed them of her experience at Craig Tara Holiday Park.

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She said: “I felt it was important they knew what the conditions were like there.

“We have been to holiday parks with Haven hundreds of times and never had an issue like this. We’ve also been to Craig Tara many times before and it's been absolutely fine.

“This was the first time we had visited since the pandemic.”

She added: “It’s frustrating because in hindsight we would have been better off if we had never gone on holiday.

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“It just shows you how easy it is to catch this virus and how seriously we all need to take this.”

On Saturday the Ayrshire Post reported how an outbreak of coronavirus had been confirmed by health board NHS Ayrshire and Arran at Craig Tara and a contact tracing exercise is now underway.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, Medical Director said: “Close contacts have been identified through this process and have been contacted directly by the Test and Protect Team and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The risk to the public is low.

“All relevant Public Health measures have been put in place and our Public Health Team are working with the business and South Ayrshire Council Environmental Health to manage and monitor the situation.

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“To respect and maintain patient confidentiality it is not possible to release any further information at this time.”

A spokesperson for Craig Tara Holiday Park said: “We are aware of the guest’s complaint regarding her accommodation and we apologise that the high standards we set were not met on this occasion.

“As a result of this a full refund has been processed for the guest.

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“Cleaning staff are required to wear face coverings whilst cleaning accommodation unless they have a medical exemption.

“Haven has a number of strict protocols covering hygiene, social distancing and PPE firmly in place across all its parks to ensure all visitors to our parks feel safe and secure whilst on holiday with us.

“Of our 500-plus team members at Craig Tara, we have two colleagues who are currently self-isolating, having tested positive for Covid-19 more than seven days ago. Neither of those team members work in our dedicated cleaning team.

“The park has complied fully with all necessary NHS Test & Protect procedures and health regulators. They have confirmed the risk to holidaymakers and owners is low and all bookings continue to be fulfilled.”

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