With just 5 days to go before bingo halls finally reopen their doors, bingo clubs up and down the country are gearing up for the long-awaited end to the latest, and hopefully, last national lockdown.
Despite much of the bingo news being dominated by the talk of closures recently, we should now be looking forward to visiting the bingo clubs that are still open. More than ever before, our bingo clubs need our patronage and our support. The UK bingo scene has been devastated by the pandemic. Many clubs were closed for 10 out of the 12 months last year and BingoDaily estimates around 20-25% of all bingo clubs have closed in the last 18 months. Now, with the reopening imminent and a host of big bingo events like Mecca Bingo's 60th Birthday and National Bingo Day to look forward, it is time to get back playing and enjoying the wonderful game of bingo on May 17th (England, Scotland and Wales only so far).
Here's a quick look at how some of the UK clubs are readying:
Opera Bingo Barrow Opens Up
Opera Bingo Barrow will re-open on May 17 operating with a host of safety measures, including a reduced capacity, social distancing, use of face coverings, and a booking system. The popular bingo club is taking bookings as of today May 12th between 10am and 1pm and will continue on May 13th and 14th.
Members will need the full name and membership number for each person and full payment for each person.
An Opera Bingo Barrow spokesman said:
“We will update our Facebook page with any further information we may have on the build up to re-opening.
“Five sleeps till it’s bingo time!
“We look forward to seeing you all very soon.”
Big Reoping and Year for Mecca Bingo Swansea
At Mecca Bingo Swansea, reopening is an even bigger deal for Mecca Bingo as this year marks Mecca's 60th year of being a part of British towns and cities, and at the heart of local communities. Mecca Bingo clubs are celebrating their 60th birthday in style with the chance to win life-changing amounts of money, and a £2million prize pool just in May alone. There will also be bingo at 1960’s prices, costing just 60p for a book of bingo games.
Mecca will employ extensive safety measures which include different session times throughout the day to prevent bottlenecks and hourly bingo bringing increased flexibility to the daily line up with new games starting every hour.
Kimberley Jones, General Manager at Mecca Bingo Swansea Carmarthen Road, said:
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome people back. We’re a friendly face in the community – that’s a really unique part of our brand and heritage – we know and love our customers very much and we’ve very active in the area when it comes to community initiatives.
We’ve really missed being a part of people’s day-to-day lives so May 17th can’t come soon enough. And this year as it’s our big birthday, we’re coming back in style with more to offer than ever – we’re expecting this to be the year of bingo!”
Carlton Bingo Stirling Prepares Winning Welcome
In a tumultuous year, Bingo Halls in Scotland had it the worst. Carlton Bingo Stirling has been only open for just 43 days since the first lockdown started in March 2020.
Carlton spokesperson Mike Watret said:
“We are re-opening next week in Stirling (subject to Scot Gov confirmation for May 17) and our management and staff teams have been busy getting the clubs ready to welcome customers once again.
“We are re-opening with the same restrictions in place as when we closed although, like other indoor hospitality venues, we are subject to maximum numbers to ensure safety is maintained.
“The safety of everyone remains our top priority. It’s been a long, hard road for everyone over the last year.
“By May 17, 424 days will have passed since we were first told to close our doors (March 19th, 2020) and during this time, we have been permitted to open on just 43 days in Stirling. Our last day operating in Stirling was Friday, October 9 – seven months ago.
“Aside from the obvious financial pressure this has put Carlton under, the key impact has been felt by our employees and our customers.
“Our employees have had to endure the last year on furlough whilst, for many of our customers, bingo is a lifeline for them, especially the more elderly customers many of whom live alone and have had to endure the last year being apart from family as well as their friends at the bingo.
“Having said this we will re-open with confidence for the future, not least because our fantastic employees and customers will ensure the bingo numbers keep getting called in Stirling.”
Your Bingo Club Needs You!
So, with days just to go. It is time to dust off the old dabber, put on going-out clothes (remember those?) and go down to your nearest bingo hall and support our wonderful bingo industry.