Banbury Bowl MD slams government for lack of support as reopening plug pulled
“How are people ever going to have confidence to book with us again if it’s pulled 12 hours before we’re due to open”
The Managing Director of Banbury Bowl has told Banbury FM of his frustration following the announcement on Friday lunchtime that bowling alleys were amongst venues that would not be allowed to reopen on Saturday after all.
Pete Terry from Banbury Bowl’s owners Disco Leisure Group said, “Obviously the Prime Minister has to act in the best interests of the country. However, a bowling alley is a very large area. Social distancing is a lot easier in a bowling alley, arguably than in a lot of pubs”.
Mr Terry had previously spoken to us questioning why bowling alleys were forced to remain closed when other similar venues had reopened. Since the announcement Banbury Bowl could reopen this weekend local people have been booking online and staff have been preparing the alley and implementing their COVID-19 precautionary measures.
Mr Terry said, “The financial implication of this across our company is £50,000 plus. How are people ever going to have confidence to book with us again if it’s pulled 12 hours before we’re due to open”.
Anyone who has made a booking at Banbury Bowl up until the potential new reopening date on August 15th will automatically receive a refund.
A number of schemes have been implemented by the government to help businesses during the lockdown period. These include the Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, but Banbury Bowl is one of a number of venues that don’t qualify.
Mr Terry said, “The government has failed to put any support behind rents for businesses like ours. We’re in a position where we have to pay the full rent on our commercial premises. Despite the fact they’ve said we can’t be evicted until the end of September, sooner or later there’s going to come an impasse where we can’t carry on.
“We don’t feel we’ve had any help or support from this government and we feel they need to do more. If they’re going to pull our business 12 hours before we’re due to open then they need to do something to support us just like they’ve supported other people.
You can hear our interview with Pete Terry here: