Pleasureland owner Norman Wallis has told parliamentarians that closing shop was the right thing to do, and that he will wait for the lift of lockdown with…well, pleasure.
Owner of Southport Pleasureland Norman Wallis has gone on the record to say that he stands by his decision to be the first amusement park in the UK to close its doors in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wallis has spent the past 12 years regenerating Pleasureland from its former derelict state to its present form, where it most recently attracted over 500,000 visitors during its 12-week trading season last year.
Of course, Wallis had been in the midst of sinking a large amount of cash into readying for opening for this summer…but says he has no regrets in pre-empting the government’s order to closeup indefinitely.
“Corporate press statements often describes moves such as this as a difficult decision but it wasn’t,” he wrote to legislators in last week’s Parliamentarian. “It was the only decision any business could make in all conscience in times such as these.”
“If we in the industry really do put our staff and customers first – and in this case the health of the nation too – then there was just one choice,” he added. “Is it difficult to live with the choice? No.”
However, the irony was by no means lost on Wallis that the essential function of the amusements industry was in demand now perhaps more than ever.
“Ours is a business dedicated to providing families with fun, education, relaxation and excitement,” he wrote. “What is so frustrating is that we, and others in our industry, can’t provide that now, when it’s never been needed more.”
“Leisure and tourism businesses like ours will need to be there to support a general public that has been on lockdown and facing the most challenging changes to their lives, their freedom and their mental health,” he continued.
That said, however, Wallis was confident as to the industry’s prospects of a resurgence once the epidemic has passed its peak.
“Wartime experience shows us that, as soon as possible after peace was declared there was a rush for the public to reconnect with relaxing, socialising, living a normal life and breathing freely again,” he argued. “I’m certain history will repeat itself and, as an industry, we need to be ready and waiting for that day.”