- Recreational businesses slated to open this July, provided they adhere to “COVID-19 secure” guidelines
- Park rides to run at half their capacities
- Cineworld lines up a slew of measures to keep cinemagoers safe
- Concert halls and music venues will probably open up later
Companies providing recreation services such as cinemas, theatres, museums and amusement parks are working out details of reopening up, starting July 4, once lockdown restrictions are eased out across the United Kingdom. From buying tickets to the viewing experience, everything is likely to undergo a change.
Ticketing service will mostly go online, even for free museums, as a precautionary move to eliminate physical contact, where possible.
The Design Museum, a museum in Kensington, London is getting rid of its ticket desks, and instead will sell all the tickets online, eliminating queues and the need for a physical contact. The tickets can be shown on mobile phones, so there is no need for a physical ticket as well. Visitors will not be allowed to wander as long as they wish and will have to leave the premises within one and a half hours. They will be guided along a one-way route, for a smooth flow and to avoid from bumping into each other. The Design Museum showcases architectural, fashion, graphic, and industrial designs.
These businesses also need to ensure complete safety for their staff and are installing the requisite measures in place, like staff to be protected behind the screens where possible, along with using face masks and gloves to avoid any infection.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach, a popular amusement park in England, plans to keep its visitors safe by making its rollercoaster rides socially-distanced. Train rides will be running at half their capacities to maintain a distance of two meters between every two riders. All the riders will be wearing a face mask and if you are not keen on taking the ride alone, the park insists that a family member sits beside you.
This is the first time since 1896 when this park was ever closed.
Every fun and recreation activity firm wants the footfalls to increase, by making the consumers feel confident to use these facilities and have fun, which they have missed on while being locked-down all these weeks. Britain went into a complete lockdown since March 23 this year, to contain the spread of coronavirus infections.
Time controls will be placed and your ticket will allow you to arrive only at a set time. One in and one out will be the standard norms in public toilets. Food cafes will be limited in number with hygiene standards in place. It is also likely that recreations places will have long opening hours, to cover up for the restricted footfall being permitted at a time.
Cineworld Group Plc (LON:CINE), the second biggest cinema chain in the world, on the other hand, is planning to reopen its cinemas by the last week of July, except venues in the UK, which will be showing films from July 10. Headquartered in Brentford, the company has lined up a slew of measures to keep the cinemagoers safe.
Mooky Greidinger, Chief Executive, Cineworld said that he was happy with the recent survey findings which revealed about people missing out on watching movies in theatres during the lockdown. Many new movies like Tenet and Mulan are slated to release soon and should attract viewers. All of the 99 Cineworld cinemas are closed since March in the UK.
Cineworld cinemas is updating its booking system to make sure that social distancing is in place all around its auditoriums. Daily movie time-tables are being adjusted to manage queues properly and avoid a large number of people being gathered together. Shares of Cineworld Group Plc fell by more than 60 percent this year, due to the impact of coronavirus pandemic felt across the globe. Cineworld stock price moved up by 0.06 percent to 79.79p on June 17 at 12.57 pm GMT+1.
All the venues shall need to pass through strict government guidelines for reopening and be declared as “COVID-19 secure”, before resuming their business. There are many who may not be able to adhere to these stringent norms, and thus will continue to remain shut. The Society of London Theatre has said that it does not expect theatres to open before this August. This could further be delayed if these theatres are not able to produce their shows timely, which needs a lot of days for preparation and practice.
Cultural and creative sectors facing losses
A recent report from the Oxford Economics said that around 0.4 million jobs are at risk in the cultural and creative sectors.
Caroline Norbury, Head, Creative Industries Federation said that according to industry estimates, UK’s creative industries could lose a total of £74 billion in revenue in the year 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of this, museums and galleries will lose £743 million for the year. In the year 2018, the sector employed 2 million people and generated a turnover of £112 billion.
Places where crowds gather in larger numbers like concert halls and music venues, will probably be one of the last recreational places to reopen in the country. Times are tough and some of the big names are actually facing permanent closures. While the Royal Opera House claims that its current reserves are vanishing, Wigmore Hall might shut in the next 12 weeks, if things don’t start to look up. No one has a magic wand which can control the public at such venues, where the idea of fun is socializing without any barriers in place. So these places are slated to be opened up in the end, when the disease is probably out of sight in the country, with no fear of getting back another deadly coronavirus wave. Government had categorised these activities as “higher-risk businesses”, in its three phase lockdown plan rolled out in May this year.
It also needs to be noted that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reviewing the two-metre social distancing rule, and if the coronavirus infection curve is going down at an acceptable pace, it definitely adds room for manoeuvring the rule.
Fun and recreation times are coming back in the UK, beginning July 4 this year, with theme parks, cinema halls and museums slated to reopen, provided they adhere to the new COVID-19 guidelines. While this will give a slight push to the employment and revenue generation in the cultural and creative sectors, it is to be ensured that it does not add to another fresh wave of coronavirus infections.
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