More than a dozen mascots representing indoor soft play centres from across the UK are descending on Westminster today (Thursday, 16th July at 1pm) in a desperate bid to save their businesses.
The mascots will be joined on Parliament Square by owners, staff and young families, who are all urging the government to provide clear guidance on when and how they can re-open.
A recent survey undertaken by BALPPA, the trade body representing British leisure parks, piers and attractions, revealed up to two-thirds of the country’s indoor play centres are facing permanent closure within weeks.
On Friday, BALPPA, which has more than 400 members and represents over 180 indoor play centres, started an emergency online petition urging Boris Johnson to rescue the indoor play industry from closure. To date it has attracted over 16,000 signatures.
“Last week the indoor play industry was dealt the latest devastating blow in the COVID-19 crisis when they were once again totally overlooked in the government’s re-opening plans,” said Paul Kelly, BALPPA chief executive.
“Over the past month, more than 20 of our members have gone out of business. A survey we conducted among our members showed that nearly two-thirds of the remaining centres will permanently shut by October.
“The financial support given by the Chancellor last week, while welcome, can only add value to those businesses that are allowed to reopen. Without further financial support, the very future of this entire sector is at risk.
“The indoor play sector already has COVID-secure guidelines signed off by the Health & Safety Executive, Public Health England and the Government. All they’re asking for is for a clear timetable of when they can re-open,” he added.
In addition to the damage being done to businesses, BALPPA is also receiving feedback from young families concerned at the potential long-term damage being done to their children’s health and wellbeing.