10:00AM, Thursday 23 July 2020
The owners of a soft play and sensory room in Hare Hatch are calling on the Government to offer some guidance and a roadmap for when they can reopen.
The call from Big on Bouncing Play Days & Parties directors Karen and Wayne Quinn follows the Prime Minister’s announcement at a press conference on Friday, July 17, that soft play areas and nightclubs were to remain closed with this decision ‘kept under review’.
On the day prior to the announcement, the play room was visited by environmental health officers from Wokingham Borough Council (WBC).
According to Karen, they were ‘exceptionally impressed’ with their premises and gave them the green light to open as soon as the Government said they could.
A series of measures have been imposed at the play room to meet COVID-19 guidelines set out by the Government and Public Health England.
These include plans to only open for private family sessions, temperature checks upon entering, enhanced cleaning and sanitising, a fogging system, additional cleaning between sessions as well as a thorough clean at the start and end of each day and a tracing system.
Karen revealed her ‘disappointment’ after the announcement that her play room had to remain closed.
She said: “We need some guidance. If we’re not being allowed to reopen at this point, then we need to understand why so that as a sector it can actually be dealt with.
“If the Government actually came out and said the aim is September, that’s fine because we’ve got some guidance of when it's possible.
“I think my biggest frustration is [that] we’ve been signed off as COVID-secure and we still can’t open.
“It's not as if they’ve said those sectors still have to close, but there is going to be some financial support to help them – there’s not and there’s no end date to it at the minute.”
She added: “It’s a really hard one. We do a lot of work with special needs children and people are messaging us asking us when they can bring their children back in and it’s a very difficult situation at the moment.
“It's just so sad, it’s a building that’s just shut with no date for opening it at the moment.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "We recognise the frustration of businesses which have had to remain closed because of the pandemic and we are working to help them reopen as soon as it is safe.
“We are also providing businesses and their employees with an unprecedented package of support during this national emergency including £330billion worth of Government backed and guaranteed loans and the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme.”
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