While bowling and casinos will have to wait a while longer before the green light is given, AGCs, piers FECS, and bingo are eager and prepared for Britain’s grand re-opening.
Amusements in almost all forms will be back by 4 July, with bowling and casinos the only related businesses that must delay their re-opening.
While already allowed to open their outdoor are as, piers will be able to let visitors inside their attractions at the start of next month, and Anne Ackord, chief executive of the Brighton Pier Group, is “delighted”.
“We have done a tremendous amount of work to ensure that our visitors can be welcomed back safely and look forward to seeing all of Brighton spring back to life,” she said.
FECs across the country are relieved to be opening up as well, with Sascha Blodau, General Manager, Gauselmann (UK), thanking the UK government as well as the over 40 MPs who contacted the Prime Minister on Gauselmann’s behalf in order to cement the July 4 reopening.
“The UK is a key market for us and we want to get our staff off furlough, back into work and supporting their local high streets in the 100+ towns and cities that we operate in,” he said. “We received great support from our constituency MPs, from Bacta and from Interel. We will continue to invest in the UK, develop our business in new towns and cities and in the process, create important employment opportunities on the high street.” While not starting with a full house, Mark Jepp, managing director of Majestic Bingo, is looking forward to a staggered re-opening of his venues.
“After the conversation we’d had with DCMS the week before it came as something of a surprise to get the go ahead for 4 July. There’s a lot to be done in a short period of time but we are just happy to have a date that we can work with,” he said.
“I’m looking at getting roughly a third of the clubs open in the first week and then stagger the other openings. Apart from the date, the key take out form is the phenomenal response we’ve received from our customers. By the first evening we’d had over 600 really positive comments on Facebook which shows that the appetite is there.”
Peter Hannibal, CEO of the Gambling Business Group, outlined that things are looking up for the industry both in the UK and globally. He did, however, note a need for consistency, with casinos and bowling missing out and Wales and Scotland still not on the same page as England with regards to social distancing.
“Obviously I’m delighted that things are starting to move in the right direction and that most operators have some clear goals to focus on ,” he said. “Although we are still a long way from getting back to normal, the signals coming out of Germany continue to be positive.
“It’s great news that the booking lines are ‘off the hook’ with people trying to book UK summer holidays and breaks, but I am really disappointed for both casinos and bowling.
“We now need Wales and Scotland to adopt a more pragmatic approach and start to reduce their 2m rules.”
Bacta prepares the industry – DESPATCH WEDNESDAY 24 JUNE
“Members are rapidly making arrangements for opening on 4th July. Unfortunately not all the guidance that was promised by Government has been published, so the following advice is contingent upon further clarification from Government.
• AGCs and High Street Bingo are described as High Street Gambling Arcades in the Government’s industry guidance related to Shops and Branches and this provides overarching guidance for this sector of our industry
• FECs will fall within the Guidance for the Visitor Economy
• Bacta has been asked by HSE and Government to amend its previous guidance to place more emphasis on capacity management and on machine cleaning.
• We have also been asked to include reference to the volume of machine sound (requiring people to shout or raise their voice promotes aerosol transmission of the coronavirus). Bacta’s amended guidance is back with the Cabinet Office and I will get it to you as soon as I can.
• The VE Guidance references participation in the Government’s Track and Trace Scheme. You may have read that pubs and other pre-booked visitor attractions have been asked to collect contact details of customers. More guidance is awaited on this for other venues. We have said to DCMS that we cannot envisage how this could possibly work in and FEC setting. T&T is not currently part of the Shops and Branches Guidance.
• Bowling Alleys are not able to open yet. Members with bowling lanes within their venues are advised to keep them closed. It may be possible to open mini-bowling or similar but it is suggested this is discussed with your local authority.
Please remember that the Government Guidance allows you to print out the notice that must appear on the front of your premises declaring you are ‘Covid Safe’.