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‘Better than expected’ - Soft play area enjoys busy first day of reopening

PUBLISHED: 17:15 15 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:15 15 August 2020

Hulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah Midgley

Hulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah Midgley

Archant

On the first day indoor soft play centres were able to re-open to the public, only a handful were in a position to do so.

Hulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah MidgleyHulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah Midgley

One of those was Hulabaloos in Wymondham, which offered free entry on August 15 between 10.30-4pm as an incentive to draw footfall and ensure people turned up.

But for manager Sarah Midgley, the day was “far better than expected” - even with the offer in place.

She said: “I was really surprised that we were one of the only soft play centres to re-open in Norfolk. I thought everyone would be ready and willing to go by now.

“We’ve had about 14-15 children on rotation since we opened, and everyone was following the rules respectfully and willingly.

Hulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah MidgleyHulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah Midgley

“Granting free entry for today was a nice incentive and gives people a chance to see that it is safe to come here, but actually, most people have said they’re really glad we’re back open, and that they’ve got something for the kids to do. They’re saying they’ll come back and we hope things will continue to pick up from here.”

According to Ms Midgley, Friday was extremely stressful as staff had one day to react to the Prime Minister’s announcement on Thursday that indoor soft play areas could re-open with guidance.

She said: “We spent Friday frantically getting everything together, and had screens and all the sanitising equipment in stock ready for what we thought would be our initial re-opening date of July 4 alongside the rest of the hospitality sector.

“Some things are a bit complex - like having to split the hard toys we have into two batches so that we can rotate them every half an hour and wipe them down - but other than that, it’s not overly demanding.

“We’ve also had to empty the ball-pit and take out all the soft toys, which definitely looks weird. But we’re getting used to it already.”

Hulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah MidgleyHulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah Midgley

On the topic of re-openings more generally, Ms Midgley said she “didn’t understand” why her industry had been one of the last to be given the green light.

She said: “We’ve been ready to go for months. It’s perfectly possible to run an indoor soft play safely. We should have been open long before now.”

Hulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah MidgleyHulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah Midgley

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Hulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah MidgleyHulabaloos at Wymondham opened for the first day today, and manager Sarah Midgley said it went better than expected. Photo: Sarah Midgley


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