SANTA SPECIALS / COVID UPDATE - THURSDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2020
As expected, it has been confirmed that our local area, West Yorkshire, will be under Tier 3 restrictions when lockdown ends next week. This tier placement will be reviewed every fortnight.
We've reviewed the new Government guidance, spoken to Kirklees Council and taken expert advice, and we are thrilled to announce that - as a predominantly outdoor attraction & point-to-point transport provider - we CAN run our Santa Specials this December!
The official Tier 3 Government guidance also states that people can "continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys... where possible," meaning you ARE permitted to travel to us.
We've worked extremely hard to make our attraction COVID-secure, and we received high praise for our efforts after reopening this summer. We don't rest on our laurels and we've been working tirelessly to ensure our half-capacity Santa Specials have socially distanced seating for all visitor bubbles on the trains and around the stations.
We've had to make a few extra tweaks to the Santa plans this past week to ensure that we comply with current rules and regulations. We know you'll appreciate these tweaks are made with everyone's safety in mind and we hope you understand that this year's Santa experience will be slightly different to what you (and we!) expected. However, it is our Christmas wish that your experience will be as magical as ever 🌟
Here are the necessary tweaks:
☆ The cafe at Clayton West Station will operate as a takeaway only, there will be NO option to dine inside nor the option to shelter inside the cafe in the event of inclement weather
☆ The public toilets in the station and the gift shop will be OPEN but there will no option to shelter in these areas in the event of inclement weather
☆ The two large marquees at Shelley Station will be opened up so that they are not enclosed spaces. Heaters will be in the marquees but, with open sides, they will obviously be less effective. As per usual, we advise wrapping up warm!
☆ The Wishing Tree will be outside this year
☆ The reindeer food stations will be outside & socially distanced. Please respect this & wait patiently for your turn
☆ Shelley Tea Room and the BBQ will operate as takeaways only, with no option to dine/sit inside nor shelter from inclement weather
☆ Children will receive their individual activity packs (North Pole passport, crayons, reindeer food bag & Wishing Tree tag) upon arrival/check-in at Clayton West Station so there is no need for shared items
☆ The mulled wine/mince pie/biscuit/juice collection area will be in a covered walk-through area with a one-way system
☆ As we are a heritage railway (and therefore a heritage site), the 'rule of six' will apply to visitors in our external grounds but NOT on the train, not when passing through the station building, not in the toilets and not when queuing for takeaway in the cafe/tea room. Even within the 'rule of six', social distancing must be observed between different social bubbles, please
☆ Perhaps the most important tweak that has been made is to your Grotto visit: we cannot operate the Grotto as an indoor attraction this year, even if visitors are just indoors for a couple of minutes. We have re-worked the experience so visitors will still meet/chat to Santa in their individual bubbles, have a sneaky peek into the Grotto, get a Santa selfie and receive that all-important gift. However, it will all be done in a socially distanced way without visitors having to step foot over the Grotto threshold. We will also require adult visitors to wear face masks when having their meet & greet with Santa (subject to medical exemptions of course)
We'd like to thank you again for your support and patience, and believe us when we say we're REALLY excited to see everyone very soon for a bit of festive cheer!
If you do have any questions or queries, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org & we'll respond just as soon as we're able but please bear in mind we are very busy at the moment and, with the majority of staff still furloughed for now, it may take us longer than usual to respond. Thanks