Business owners have anxiously waited for the promised return to normality after the damage inflicted by the coronavirus crisis. The reopening of shops and restaurants signaled that coveted return, but many businesses are still heavily affected. The UK bingo halls are in this category of ventures that are still reeling from the negative effects of the lockdown. Many owners are afraid that a second wave will utterly crush their struggling industry, while some are already preparing for the inevitable layoffs.
Bingo chains struggle to make ends meet
Even though business halls in the UK are now open, the number of patrons is still relatively small and definitely not enough to help them return to their former glory. A lot of money was lost during the lockdown and a lot was invested to make these halls compliant with the new government requirements. Their owners have spent a lot of money trying to create a feeling of security among prospective punters, but they were only marginally successful. Even though the bingo halls meet the government standards, people are still afraid of flocking together with others, scared by the prospect of getting sick.
A second wave is expected for late autumn and it is during wintertime when businesses will likely be most affected. Bingo halls are at the forefront of vulnerability, as they had a terrible year and there is no reason to expect a 180° turn in the months to come. As they prepare to weather the storm of autumn and winter, some business owners are already letting people go while new bingo sites online are seeing a boom in traffic.. Difficult as it might be to fire employees, the fact that they simply can’t afford to pay the wages forces bingo halls in this direction.
Only the tip of the iceberg
Hundreds of people were already sent home and thousands more are likely to be fired in the weeks and months to come. This is a big problem for those affected, as well as their families but unfortunately, this wave of layoffs might only be the tip of the iceberg. Because of the unsustainable operating environment and the concerns for what the upcoming months might bring, bingo halls are downsizing everything. A restructure is needed just to keep them afloat, but a return to profitability seems unlikely.
The challenging environment affects small operators disproportionately, but ultimately everyone is in danger of losing their jobs. Not only the bingo halls, but also the leisure and hospitality sector as a whole is suffering terribly from the effects of the pandemic. An entire supply chain is in danger and all those who work in this environment fear what tomorrow might bring. The government tries to be reassuring, but very little help is coming the way of business owners and promises won’t pay the bills.
To make matters worse, many bingo players who used to visit the land-based locations have migrated online during the pandemic. Only an insignificant number of them have returned to UK bingo halls.