After nearly four months of lockdown here in the UK due to the pandemic, PM Boris Johnson announced on June 23rd, that as of 4th of July 2020, lockdown restrictions were to be eased slowly for certain areas of the tourism and leisure industry. This was a huge announcement for those within the bingo business especially, and it’s given club owners the hope’s of opening their doors again.
It’s not been plain sailing as yet however for most companies out there, and a lot of clubs simply haven’t survived the devastating financial blows that the lockdown period bought. Even the clubs and halls that have been able to start opening doors again have experienced many issues along the way unfortunately, but they are still slowly opening however, which provides us all with a bit of hope all round.
A company that have really got things off to a good start for instance, is the Parkdean Resorts UK caravan site brand. I personally visited one of their caravan sites with my family just last week, so I got to experience their new ‘post lockdown’ style bingo games for myself.
Parkdean Holiday Resorts Trial Socially Distanced Linked Bingo Games
The award winning Parkdean Resorts brand are one of the biggest providers of holidays within the UK, and as of July 14th 2020, they began opening up most of their sites again for business.
UK holiday makers (including myself) have been able to start booking and visiting the caravan, camping and holiday lodge sites for the past few weeks, but all sites have had to incorporate social distancing rules in order to offer a safe environment.
A lot of the entertainment programmes and venues are still not available at the moment as they trial this new period coming out of lockdown of course, but one thing they have decided to offer is their hugely exciting linked nightly bingo games.
Club rooms have been rearranged to provide social distancing measures throughout and there are new rules and regulations to follow, but it is still definitely going ahead at this point in time. I imagine like most businesses out there it will be a case of trialling and testing these measures for the first few weeks as things get back up and running, and things may change or even stop altogether should we suddenly experience an unfortunate second wave of the Coronavirus here in the UK.
It’s a very small step in the grand scheme of the bingo world in general, but it’s nice to think that it can still be possible to play physical bingo again in these uncertain times if played safely. The live bingo hall experience is such a massive part of our history here in Great Britain, so fingers crossed it can still thrive, even if it is available in a slightly different way going forward.
The New ‘Normal’ for Parkdean Linked Bingo – Perhaps Even All Live Bingo Games From Now On?
The Parkdean nightly bingo games are hugely popular with holiday makers all over the UK, and the jackpots are renowned for being pretty exciting.
All games are linked across over 60 of their sites each night, and at £12 for a book of six tickets, well, you can imagine the prize funds that are up for grabs.
Whilst I was there the prizes were huge considering the limited number of players, and there were several opportunities to bag yourself anywhere between £500 and £3000 per game.
Games always take place in the site club rooms each evening, and before the pandemic hit they were usually a chance to catch up and socialise with family, friends and fellow holiday makers throughout the night.
Post Covid-19 however things are slightly different now moving forward, and even though games are still held in the same communal club rooms as before, there are quite a few new measures that have now been put in place for safety:
No More Shouting ‘Bingo’ For That Big Win
Say farewell to the days of shouting out ‘bingo’ to claim those prize funds I’m afraid. Well at least at the Parkdean Resorts bingo games, and at least for now anyway. It’s being scientifically tested currently now as we speak, as to how much more dangerous it can be to spread strains of the virus when projecting your voice either singing or shouting across a room.
The owners of Parkdean are now advising that winners should instead raise their hand when claiming a win. Staff at the resorts will patrol the rooms during games to see if a hand is raised, and they will then stop the game as normal through the computer. This could be something that filters into a lot of bingo halls now in the coming weeks, but it’s hard to say if it will work with the excitement of a huge jackpot up for grabs…
Maximum 4 To A Table – Keeping To Your Own Bubble
Group tables are now a thing of the past in nearly all entertainment style venues across the world, and most bingo halls are also operating at a reduced capacity as they begin to open again for the time being. Parkdean have socially distanced tables with only 4 seats for people from the same support bubble, and I imagine this will be the way forward for most clubs now at least to start with.
Bye Bye Bar Queues, Hello Table Service
Again many industries are all now putting this particular measure in place, but it will be most definitely be followed when it comes to bingo I imagine. It’s fairly simple to introduce table service into bingo halls if it doesn’t already exist, and it will help to keep venues clear and stay within the social distancing guidelines.
The only issue that may arise is if a venue doesn’t hire enough staff to fulfil busier periods due to job cuts etc, and it could mean longer wait times for drinks throughout the evening. We did experience slightly longer wait times, but it wasn’t to the extent where it affected the experience.
Could Social Distancing Take The ‘Social’ Side Out Of Live Bingo?
I think as we venture now into a new era post the Coronavirus lockdown, many aspects of social entertainment will feel very different from now on.
Bingo halls, pubs, clubs, bars, theatres and sporting events will all take a very long time to get back to ‘normal’ as it were, and it’s not to say we may actually never return to the way things were done before if we experience another virus spike.
As things have gotten slowly off the ground however, I do think that people are prepared to take the steps to move forward in these new ways. I think we are desperate as a society to get out and about and get things up and running again for our own mental and physical health, and I think most people will be prepared to take caution if it means that things can start to happen again, albeit in a very new way.
With the new measures in place, I myself felt pretty safe, and nothing really put a dampener on the evening at all. The top priority for all of us at the moment is safety and prevention above all else, so anything that can help maintain that going forward is only going to add to an experience in my eyes.