This year has been a difficult year for bingo clubs across the UK. A lockdown starting in March which saw all bingo halls close hit the retail bingo industry hard. Including the 26 Buzz Bingo Clubs closed, BingoDaily estimates around 50 bingo clubs have closed in the UK since March, accounting for 10-15% of all bingo clubs.
Now, with the UK experiencing different levels of lockdown restrictions, we thought it a good time to clarify what bingo clubs are closed, and when are bingo clubs reopening.
Probably the hardest hit in the UK, when it comes to bingo clubs. Bingo halls in Scotland had an extra month's lockdown closure than their other UK counterparts. Just weeks after reopening in August, many of Scotland's Bingo clubs are now facing closure. Here is the latest Bingo rules and restrictions for Scotland:
On October 7th, Nicola Sturgeon announced that from Friday the 9th of October there would be a 16-day closure of all of Scotland's bingo halls in the following health board areas:
Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley
These are expected (at this stage) to reopen after the 26th of October. Elsewhere there is a 10pm curfew on all of Scotland's bingo halls. Masks must be worn inside the premises and social distancing and other safety measures apply.
The Scottish Government has extended the lockdown and enforced bingo closure in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley for another week. The estimated Bingo Hall opening date in these areas is the 2nd of November.
Northern Ireland Bingo
Announced on the 16th of October, all of Northern Ireland's bingo halls will be closed for the next four weeks. That means that there will no bingo clubs open in Northern Ireland until mid-November.
The Welsh Government is meeting over the weekend to discuss a circuit-breaker lockdown and an announcement is expected on Monday 19th October (tomorrow).
People in Tier 2 or 3 areas in England, as well as the central belt of Scotland and the whole of Northern Ireland, are banned from entering Wales as of 6pm on Friday 16th October
At the moment there are stricter restrictions in 17 areas of Wales. These include Cardiff, Swansea and parts of North Wales, impacting over 2.3 million people. The restrictions include prohibiting people from entering or leaving their local area without a reasonable excuse such as work or education.
Elsewhere there is a 10pm curfew on all of Wales' bingo halls. Masks must be worn inside the premises and social distancing and other safety measures apply.
The Welsh government announced a ‘fire break lockdown' but bingo halls in Wales remain open. Welsh guidelines here.
A new three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions started on Wednesday the 14th of October. Currently, Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region are the only two areas of England under Tier 3 restrictions. This means that 3.1 million people in England are now living under the strictest measures.
On Friday, Lancashire joined Liverpool City Region in a two-week lockdown, closing dozens of bingo clubs in the North West. The government stated that from 00.01 Monday, October 19th all adult gaming, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers, betting shops, and soft play areas in Lancashire must close.
However, Bingo halls in Liverpool City Region are still open
The new restrictions apply to all bingo halls in Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire and Wyre as well as those in the Liverpool City Region.
All the bingo clubs in Lancashire are expected to reopen in the first week of November
Boris Johnson announced that Greater Manchester entered into ‘very high alert' which means all Bingo Halls in Greater Manchester closes for 2 weeks.
South Yorkshire will move into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions from Saturday which means all Bingo Halls in South Yorkshire close for 2 weeks from 00:01 on 24 October.
The move, which indicates very high alert, affects about 1.4 million people in the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield local authority areas.
Nottingham City, Gedling, Broxtowe and Rushcliffe are to enter tier 3 lockdown on Wednesday 28th with bingo halls closing. Warrington in Cheshire is to enter tier 3 lockdown on Thursday 29th October, with bingo halls closing there for a period of two weeks.
Current Restrictions in UK Bingo Halls
At this point, it is worth reminding what are the latest Government Rule Changes Mean for UK Bingo Halls:
- Bingo halls must be closed between 10pm and 5am.
- In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.
- Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from 24 September).
- Businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally (from 24 September).
- Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure (from 28 September):
- A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.
- Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
- Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.
What's Next for UK Bingo Halls?
With the situation changing almost on a daily basis and the infection rate in the UK showing no signs of abating, we can sadly expect more areas to go into tier three lockdown soon, meaning more bingo clubs closing. Greater Manchester and London are hotly tipped to enter tier 3 lockdown soon and BingoDaily would not be surprised if the Welsh Government announce closures on Monday.
More closures must be expected in the coming days and weeks, whether they are permanent or temporary remains to be seen. BingoDaily will keep you updated as and when more bingo news comes in.