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Mixed Fortunes for Northern Buzz Bingo Halls
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Mixed Fortunes for Northern Buzz Bingo Halls

This week, two Buzz Bingo halls in the North of England have experienced two very different outcomes in the throes of the pandemic. One has survived. One has not.

In what has been the most difficult year for the high street for over a decade, bingo halls up and down the country are feeling the pinch. Some are closing up for good while some are experiencing small miracles in these most devastating of economic circumstances.

In the current situation, brick and mortar casinos and bingo establishments are now tentatively allowed to re-open, albeit with rigorous  social distancing measures in place. However, just because they can legally open, doesn’t meant they will.

No one quite knows what the high street will look like by next year as we’re potentially only part way through an ongoing decimation. Buzz Bingo itself has preemptively said that almost 30 of their sites will never re-open again because of the global pandemic.

Tale of Two Cities

One of these supposed 30 sites that were for the chop was the Buzz Bingo in Carlisle, Cumbria. It was all but a done deal having already been announced by the company. However, in a last minute Hail Mary, the building’s landlord approached the beleaguered business with a more manageable rent package. This discount means that Buzz are able to reverse the closure and save 25 local jobs in the process.

The General Manager, Ian Thayre, was “absolutely overjoyed” at the turn of events. “Not only has it meant that 25 people have been able to keep their jobs,” he continued. “But it also means that regulars and newcomers can visit us and enjoy a game of bingo too; something we know lots of people have missed over the last few months.”

The grand re-opening is this Thursday, 1st October 2020, so if you find yourself near the Borders, you could be in luck for a bit of in person bingo and all the joy, fun and camaraderie that it entails.

Not so lucky in Lancs

On the very same day as this miracle was announced, there was more sombre news coming from the Lancashire Post.  In Chorley, a landmark building of great historical importance to the community will be demolished.

The former cinema was a Buzz Bingo hall until it’s closure over the Summer. Now, it’s derelict and apparently asbestos infested. The building stands at 1 Market Street and is now in the council’s hands. They hope to receive a Government grant as part of a wider town centre regeneration project. Though no firm plans have been put forward, the demolition is expected to finish by Spring 2021.

If you cherish playing at bingo halls, then this is a really pivotal moment. Many historic bingo halls have closed and will close in the coming months. We’ve got to hope for more miracles like the one in Carlisle today.

Photo Credit: Lancashire Post


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