With social distancing already putting significant strain on the UK leisure industry, Bacta has written to the government calling for immediate aid for the country’s seaside operators and attractions that “form part of our national heritage”.
Bacta has highlighted the huge risk Coronavirus poses to seaside businesses ahead of the “essential” Easter period, urging the government to take immediate action to support them.
With the government implementing a social and business lockdown, the association has demanded HM Treasury include the country’s iconic seaside communities in relief measures.
“We know seaside arcades directly generate £451m in economic activity per year, similar to the contributions made by the freight and broadcasting sectors,” said CEO John White. “When we also include the broader economic footprint of the sector we find that, overall, seaside arcades support over £1bn in economic activity and more than 27,000 jobs.”
“Many businesses are the main employers within towns that have been hit hard by under investment over many years. They also often occupy our piers and seafronts, which form part of our national heritage. It would be a tragedy if the traditional seaside holiday was lost for future generations.”
Though White noted Bacta appreciated the measures already announced by government to assist UK businesses, he added “our main concern remains the preservation of jobs within seaside arcades.”
“Our members will not be in a position to weather a complete loss of income while continuing to support their communities and job losses are happening right now.”
“This is about helping individual people to preserve their employment status, and to avoid swamping the already-strained welfare system. It will also allow companies to keep their teams and be ready to aid the economic recovery when stability returns.”
The proliferation of measures to limit movement come at a particularly difficult point for the seaside amusement industry, and though operators are keen to ensure the health of their staff and customers, the loss of crucial seasonal revenue will significantly affect many attractions.
“We face having no revenue over the Easter period due to the necessary social distancing measures recently introduced, a period which usually equates to circa 15 to 20 percent of full year revenue,” said Jeremy Godden, MD of Jimmy G’s and Mr G’s Amusements in Leysdown-On-Sea.
“We desperately need support for employment costs; or businesses like ours will have to make redundancies in the coming weeks.”