Butlin's welcomes back visitors to its resort Skegness

Butlin's resort in Skegness has welcomed its first guests after months of being forced to stay closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

New resort director at Butlin's in Skegness, Alex Saul, outside the new Studio 36 theatre.

Staff leapt into action with just days to make the final preparations after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the next stage of the lifting of restrictions was on course for May 17.

There was a buzz in the air when the Skegness Standard visited the resort last week ahead of re-opening - and it wasn't just the drone overhead taking promotional pictures.

The passion of the 1000-strong team for everything to be perfect had not gone unnoticed by the new resort director, Alex Saul

Socially disanced tables inside the new Studio 36 theatre in Skegness.

These included 18 new starters, who have joined the company as part of the Kick Start scheme.

Whether they've been involved in hand-building beach hut retail units in the Skyline Pavilion, unique to Skegness, cleaning, or rehearsing in the new 860-seat Covid safe theatre, Studio 36, it's been all hands on deck to be ready in time

We met up with Mr Saul outside Studio 36, where inside a mist of dry ice lingered over the five-seater socially-distanced tables from an earlier test with Thomas the Tank Engine on stage.

Already, Mr Saul is a super hero at his home near Louth because of the resort's massive indoor swimming pool and popular children's characters - including Peppa Pig.

A new drive-through check-in makes arrival easier and avoids unnecessary contact.

But to his team, he's the man that stepped into the shoes of Chris Baron who, before he retired in August last year, almost seemed to have held the top job since "Butlin's was a grass field".

To say everyone is excited is an understatement.

"I'm bouncing off the walls with excitement and can't wait to welcome guests here," said Alex, who was only in the job a few weeks when the country was plunged into lockdown again and the resort was forced to close.

"Over the past few days you could feel the excitement of our team begin to grow - whether they are on stage performers, the guys in the kitchens or the staff getting the rooms ready for our guests.

Redcoats now have distinctive red facemasks as part of their uniform.

"Without these guests we don't have the beating heart of the business.

"Most of all we are excited to welcome our guests this to this massive new building which is Studio 36 - where we will be showing everything from Peppa Pig to West End musicals."

Among the star booked for 2021 including are X-Factor’s Fleur East and Max and Harvey, as well as the new and exclusive to Butlin’s show ‘The Diversity Games’, featuring Britain’s favourite street dance troupe.

Especially for children are Peppa Pig and her brother George in a brand new mini-show, whilst PJ Masks fans can practice their superhero moves during an action-packed on stage adventure. Children can also watch Thomas & Friends™ steam into Butlin’s in the exclusive live show ‘Thomas’ Race Day’.

The first guests have been arriving at Skegness Butlin's resort.

Bourne Leisure has invested millions not only in the new Studio 36 theatres at the three resorts in Skegness, Bognor Regis and Minehead - but also in making facilities Covid-19 safe.

On Monday, the resort welcomed 4,000 guests into its accommodation - a reduced number to ensure their safety. Entertainment venues and restaurants, including a new American diner, also opened, all offering new BServe ordering on an app to prevent having to queue.

"We totally get people will be in different places in terms of how comfortable they feel," said Mr Saul.

"But we have put in place a lot of time, effort and resources into making sure we operate in the safest way possible."

Butlin's is continuing to recruit for the summer. Anyone interested should visit www.butlinscareers.co.uk, where they will be able to search for vacancies in Skegness.

Staff have been busy preparing the accommodation in Skegness for guests.
The Skyline Gang who have been rehearsing ahead of their first live shows with an audience in months.