Buzz Bingo set to close 26 UK bingo halls
Buzz Bingo is permanently closing 26 of its 117 UK bingo halls as part of a restructuring action brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s just the latest sign that “business as usual” will not be “business as usual” when the quarantine lockdown is eventually lifted.
As it stands today, the company’s remaining 91 bingo halls are scheduled to be reopened on August 4. When they do reopen, they’ll be implementing social distancing requirements and won’t likely be operating at full capacity (and that’s assuming there are actually players showing up at the remaining bingo halls). That’s about the closest thing to good news that could be found in Buzz Bingo’s announcement.
Of course the worst part of the closures is loss of employment. As a result of the closures, 573 people will be put out of work and sent into one of the most uncertain job markets in history. As of this writing, 3,400 are still employed by Buzz Bingo.
Chief executive Chris Matthews commented on the closures to the BBC saying, “The ongoing pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for the entire leisure and hospitality sector and an immediate and significant impact on our business.” He also pointed out the restructing/closures will help position the company for a comeback when, and if, business returns to normal.
On that matter, Matthews did express optimism that customers would be returning when the remaining bingo halls open later this summer. While that remains to be seen, the fact of the matter is that post-quarantine bingo will likely look a lot different than pre-closure bingo looked.