It was on March 20 that British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson opted to make a speech regarding the lockdown in the United Kingdom. As part of that speech, he ordered that multiple different businesses close their doors in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19, including bingo halls and bookies.
Pubs, restaurants and leisure centres were also ordered to close their doors “as soon as possible” to try and curb the spread of the virus. This has been the scenario with bingo halls across the world, though. Plans are in place for some of these locations to re-open, with Fort Worth, Texas suggesting that they will open their doors on Friday, May 8.
However, when the lockdown ends, what will happen to establishments that provided bingo services to visitors beforehand? Will bingo halls around the world be able to operate in the same way that they did prior to lockdown? Speculation has been growing between different media sources and between the general public, too. So, can we expect that bingo halls will once again be able to provide their services in the way that they did before the threat of coronavirus?
When and How Will Bingo Halls Reopen?
While it’s currently unclear as to how bingo halls (and indeed, other businesses) will operate once they re-open, suggestions have been floating around about seating any potential players at least two metres apart. Granted, this isn’t a difficult thing to do within a bingo hall, but do players really want that sort of setup?
Generally speaking, when people meet up in a bingo hall, they do so not just to play the game, but also to engage in a bit of a chat, too. Is this really such a possibility with being seated in such a way?
It’s common for bingo halls to attract people from the older generation as well, who are considered to be most at risk from contracting the disease in a fatal way. There’s the potential for some establishments to reduce the number of people they allow inside, though.
With regard to the aforementioned Fort Worth, suggestions have been put forward to admit a 25% ratio of people into the bingo halls. At the same time, gamers would be asked to wear masks and only one to two people would be seated at each of the tables. Another necessary process would see chairs, tables and counters be sanitised and cleaned frequently.
Will People Want to Mix with Others in Bingo Halls?
There’s little doubt that bingo halls provide some people with what could be considered a second family. After all, it’s common to meet up with friends while there and sit at the same table during gameplay. But is that something that people will still want to do…at least, so swiftly after lockdown measures are reduced?
During lockdown, residents of some locations have been engaging in playing bingo via the Zoom app that has become popular recently. This is the case for residents of a retirement estate in Essex, UK where over half of the people living are over 75 years old. Potentially, these are the people who will want to stay away from land-based bingo halls once lockdown restrictions are lifted. So, maybe halls shouldn’t expect such a huge upsurge in people looking to enter their premises again so soon.
On the other hand, staying indoors and at home has been difficult for many people who would previously go out and socialise with others. Bingo halls provided such opportunities to people before the COVID-19 outbreak, and the likelihood is that people will be wanting to return to that semblance of normality. It would be necessary to try and get a good balance in place, though.
If bingo halls do open in the coming weeks, it would most likely be better to expect things to improve on a steady basis. In the same instance, it would be a lot better for such establishments to ensure that stringent cleaning processes are in place to begin with, and that halls aren’t filled to capacity.