Crushing blow for the resort writes Andy Mitchell
It’s a crushing blow to Blackpool’s hospitality industry that we now have to wait another four weeks to completely open up the town’s holiday economy.
The Prime Minister says we need “one last heave” to freedom, as he delays the final step of the lockdown reopening.
It means the rules for the wearing of face masks, limiting groups to six people indoors and 30 outdoors and keeping the town’s nightclubs shut are set to remain.
So far this season we’ve been lucky, to an extent, with the weather, in that the tens of thousands who have visited the resort have been able to take full advantage of the vast open spaces, our promenade, and of course our massive beaches. Indeed, it was the revelation a couple of months ago that fresh air was good for you, that helped people make up their minds to flock to the seaside.
We’d known about the benefits of fresh air here in Blackpool since the 1780s, and so it was heartening the see the message reach London.
However, Blackpool’s indoor attractions are just as important, if not more so. When the weather changes, we rely on thousands packing indoors for an afternoon in the Tower Ballroom or to see a show at The Winter Gardens.
Whilst the rules have allowed some venues to reopen with social distancing (or antisocial distancing as I like to call it), the numbers allowed inside each venue fall far short of those needed to turn a profit, or indeed in many cases, break even.
Of course, it makes perfect sense to hang on for a couple of weeks to see how the vaccination programme manages to combat the virus against a backdrop of increased cases. Here in Lancashire, we need to sort out a surge in localised cases, and make progress with the jabs.
We have to remain resolute and hope this last push, is, as the Prime Minister says, irreversible. So let’s get another date in the diary, and hope things can be sorted in time for the school summer holidays.
In the meantime, let’s also hope the weather continues to be kind to the resort over the next four weeks, with a promise that we WILL dance again in the ballroom in July.
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