Hays Travel set to reopen its doors this week
The UK's largest independent travel agent which took over Thomas Cook when it went bust last year is set to start opening its shops from Thursday June 18.
Hays Travel says safety will be the priority for customers and staff and social distancing, screens and hygiene measures are being put in place, as their branches in England gradually reopen to the public this week.
Entry to the shops will be limited, with customers able to call ahead to book appointments if they wish, while services will still be available on line, by phone, video conferencing and email.
Hays Travel has a branch in Aberdeen Walk, Scarborough and the Promenades, Bridlington.
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."
Hays Travel has operated from its base in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear for 40 years.
On October 9th 2019, the firm acquired the former Thomas Cook retail portfolio of 555 shops.
It now has around 650 shops around the UK and employs more than 4,500 people.
During the covid-19 lockdown 3,000 retail staff have been working from home where they have been continuing to help customers.
With the Foreign and Commonwealth Office restrictions on all immediate non-essential travel still in place, Hays Travel is working hard to contact people who were due to travel within the next four weeks and rebook or process refunds for them.
In Martin Lewis's MoneySavingExpert.com recent survey Hays Travel was ranked in the top two of the UK's major travel operators for the way it looked after its
customers requiring refunds.
Irene Hays, chairman, added: "We are very proud of the way our staff have pulled out all the stops to help people wanting to rebook or needing refunds and as
long as the Foreign Office restriction is in place we will continue to do all we can to get refunds quickly from our tour operators.
"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.
"It's good to be getting back to normal gradually – even if it's a little bit different to what we're used to. We really appreciate everyone’s patience and
support in these extraordinary times."
Customers can check which shops are open on the Hays Travel website.
Shops in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will re-open in accordance with guidance from the devolved authorities.