The Prime Minister’s announcement of a new full lockdown in England is yet another blow to the amusement and gaming sector, already reeling from previous measures announced by the Government to combat COVID-19.
Pubs, clubs, bars, leisure centres, bingo halls, bowling alleys, AGCs and arcades will be required to close, as will casinos and betting offices amongst others. The situation for Motorway Service Stations at this stage is unclear. The lockdown will last until December 2nd when the Government ‘will look to’ return to the current Tiered approach.
“The latest lockdown is another punch to the guts for an industry already on its knees,” says John White, bacta CEO. “Amusement machine supply chains, which have had no extra support, are close to breaking. These businesses are needed to aid recovery but this further lockdown will see more jobs lost. We need the Chancellor to reduce VAT to 5% for seaside arcades and to cut MGD to 5% to support high streets and pubs now. We also need extended universal rates relief for 2021/22 across the whole industry and supply chain.”
The Government did also announce that the Job Retention Scheme would not cease as of 31st October but instead be extended until the end of November. Full details are yet to be published but it appears the scheme will operate as it did in August. That is to say paying 80% of a furloughed workers salary with the employer paying any pension and NI costs. The scheme will allow for flexible working. In addition, grants up to £3k will be available (rateable values will determine what you can get), and there will be additional discretionary grants available from local authorities. Bacta cannot see any restriction on businesses in Scotland and Wales being able to use the extended furlough scheme.
Here’s the link to the JRS page for info: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furlough-scheme-extended-and-further-economic-support-announced
For more details on the second lockdown: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
Bacta represents the owners and operators of seaside amusement arcades, over-18 amusement centres, and the companies that hire machines to pubs, clubs, bowling alleys, bingo halls and similar venues. It also represents the manufacturers and distributors of all types of amusement equipment. This can range from children’s rides, to jukeboxes, fruit machines in pubs and clubs, crane grabbers, penny falls, tuppeny nudgers, test your strength machines, videos, pool tables and gaming machines