Center Parcs has said it will re-open its Longford Forest resort in Ballymahon from Monday 13 July, but its swimming pool area will remain closed until later in the month.

Center Parcs closed the Longford facility in March in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. 

In line with government guidance, Center Parcs said there will be social distancing and new safety measures in place to protect its customers and the company's 1,000 employees.

It will initially open on 13 July without its subtropical swimming pool or spa, but subject to government guidance, both facilities are planned to reopen from Monday 27 July.

New measures to keep guests and staff safe include a reduced number of customers on each break as well as an enhanced cleaning regime for accommodation and central areas.

It is also making changes to arrival and departure times to allow more time for enhanced cleaning and cashless payments must be used across the village.

Bookings and payments for activities can now only be made online, while a new takeaway service is offering contactless delivery to lodges across the facility.

During the four-month closure period, most of the company's 1,000 employees were supported by the Government's Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

The company said that work is now ongoing to bring employees back to work and deliver a comprehensive training programme around new ways of working and safety procedures.

Center Parcs' five UK villages remain closed in line with the UK government's timeline for easing lockdown.

Center Parcs' CEO Martin Dalby said that although it was disappointing to have to close Longford Forest resort within nine months of opening in Ireland, it was the right thing to do to keep guests and staff safe. 

"The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant effect on the whole country and we always said we would only reopen once we were 100% satisfied it was safe to do so. We've had our teams working around the clock to review everything we do, right down to the smallest detail, and we're now ready to open our doors again," Mr Dalby said.

He said that Center Parcs has been planning the changes needed to maintain social distancing, but its swimming pool area has many different elements, including flumes, rapids and numerous changing rooms. 

"We are working through what new capacities we will need to apply and how best to do that. We’re committed to reopening these facilities as soon we are 100% satisfied we’re ready to do so," he added.