2020 was a RIDE, but I’m not too sure I’d love another go.
It has been a year like no other, affecting everyone all over the world. A virus unlike anything else in living memory, we’ve been plunged into an incredibly difficult period of time. 2020 has been far from great.
The Leisure Industry in the UK faced a prolonged period of closure, due to Lockdown 1.0. With the inability to open their gates, companies began to struggle. From the larger parks such as Alton Towers and THORPE PARK Resort, to the smaller, privately owned parks, including Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Fantasy Island, they all faced a devastating few months. Even when Lockdown was lifted, the restrictions were heavy and the guest numbers were distinctly lower than average.
Over the Summer, the entire Festival market in the UK was hit, with mass cancellations as a direct result. It would be impossible to host a Festival with Social Distancing, a current requirement written in English law & guidelines. This was an incredibly forceful blow for many Festivals out there, including Boomtown Fair, Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, the Isle of Wight Festival and Camp Bestival. Much like Theme Parks, many of these are not backed by big investors or parent companies, so this was devastating to say the least.
Theatre also ground to a halt in dramatic fashion, back in March 2020. For many shows, the cast performed their final show without even knowing it was the case. Waitress left the West End during Lockdown, and was preparing for a UK wide tour in the Autumn/Winter of 2020. Unfortunately, that too was cancelled as a result of the ongoing Pandemic. With the ever growing restrictions – sometimes dropped at the last minute by the Gov, Theatres have suffered greatly during this Pandemic, and it’s an absolute crisis right now.
Shows such as Les Misérables – The Staged Concert had made drastic changes to the Theatre layout to adhere to Social Distancing, only for the Government to make additional changes at a moments notice. They were forced to further reduce capacity and unfortunately had to cancel a large portion of tickets, much to the displeasure of people that had fought for hours in the online queue for Tickets in October.
In an incredibly difficult change of events, Les Misérables – The Staged Concert managed to open in early December, only to close a few days later due to London entering Tier 4 restrictions, again with a minutes notice.
All over the country, businesses large and small are being damaged as a result of this Pandemic. The Government in the UK have promised aid to assist with those most at risk, but as is frequently the case, this has not been so forthcoming as of yet. With the Pandemic rolling on, new restrictions every few weeks and the looming prospect of further national Lockdown, its difficult to imagine a Post-COVID Leisure Industry right now.
2021 is just around the corner, and there is renewed, fresh hope on the cards. Check out my 2021 post by clicking here for a little bit of positivity in an otherwise dark world.