Slowly but surely, we’re all returning to some sort of normality. First the restrictions on travel were lifted and then came the announcement that non-essential shops could re-open. As the media focused on the queues forming outside of Primark, the UK Government were discussing what to do for the next stage; phase 3 (of 5) and we suspect bingo halls will make the spotlight.
June 15th, Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister announced further easing of controlled measures to get the economy back up and running again. Toys, and clothes shops were among those in the televised address to the nation, along with charity shops and betting shops. As long as the businesses are adhering to social distancing rules with hand sanitizing stations in place, they’re welcome to re-open!
But what does this mean for larger venues such as cinemas, bingo halls and gyms? The next announcement is scheduled for July 4th – the day the UK celebrates Independence Day. This mammoth celebration could be celebrated in England too, if what we believe is to be announced.
Phase 3 of ‘normality’ is expected to include bingo halls up and down England (Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own rules!) as well as pubs, restaurants and even hairdressers! Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that he doesn’t want to wait any longer than is necessary to get pubs and restaurants back open and has even hinted on venues being able to open to serve food and drinks in June!
Shopping venues were given some notice on when they could welcome back customers, which was a three-week period, and this same ‘preparation’ time has been given to the hospitality trade. July 4th would see the reopening of beauty salons, pubs, hotels, leisure facilities, hairdressers, cinemas and even bingo halls!
Eyes Down for a Re-Opening?
Mecca Bingo and Buzz Bingo are among those who have been working hard to introduce significant changes to how they operate, but there is still lots of work to be done before those doors can open. Tables and chairs may have moved, cups, plates and cutlery may now be disposable but there is still one major problem – how do you control the visitor numbers?
A booking system is one such way and to be honest, it was a handy tool for business before lockdown was enforced. When looking to make a table reservation, the likes of Wetherspoons and Toby Carvery already had a web-based (and mobile) reservation program that would assign different tables to visitors at different times.
This same tool could be introduced across the entire country; from hairdressers to gyms, simply log in, request an appointment and hey presto. No large crowds all looking to enter at once and no risk of breeching social distancing measures.
Jeffrey Harris, Chief Executive of Castle Bingo is eagerly awaiting the go-aheadfrom the Government and has been keeping fans updated on social media. His last message to the bingo community came on June 3rd, almost a fortnight before phase 3 was hinted at:
“Dear Castle Bingo Member,
As we approach the summer period, I write to all our members to hope that you and your family remain safe and well. We continue to receive many uplifting messages of support from our members and I know that you are keen to reunite with friends and family at your Castle club.
Our primary responsibility is always to keep everyone safe, both members and our teams. We are carefully planning every aspect of our reopening so that we are ready to welcome you back to bingo, as soon as the government allows us to open our doors.
We know that your bingo visits are an important part of your social and community life, and my colleagues miss our ability to help you enjoy yourselves. Until then, from the Castle family to yours, thank you, and we wish you well.”
We don’t think it will be long now!