MIÉ 25 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2020 - 05:09hs.

UK leading bingo chain closes 26 halls and cut hundreds of jobs

Major UK bingo clubs chain Buzz Bingo is closing 26 of its venues permanently, the Nottingham-based company has announced. The 'unsustainable operating environment for the foreseeable future' has been blamed for the closure, which affects nearly 600 jobs. The firm has 91 more bingo halls which will go back to operating normally when they are permitted to reopen on August 6.

Buzz Bingo halls formerly operated as Gala Bingo clubs, while the Gala brand continues to operate online. The remaining 91 halls of the company will continue to operate when they reopen from 6 August.

Chief executive Chris Matthews said a restructure would ensure those clubs were able to adapt to new safety measures and lower customer numbers.

Buzz Bingo closed its sites on 21 March due to the government-mandated lockdown and furloughed the majority of its staff.

The company, which employs about 3,400 people, said it would "take time" for footfall at sites to reach pre-virus levels due to social distancing measures and weaker customer confidence.

"The ongoing pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for the entire leisure and hospitality sector and an immediate and significant impact on our business," Matthews said.

A restructure of its retail portfolio is planned "to ensure we are well positioned for a return to growth, while adapting to the ongoing, challenging environment as we start to reopen the majority of our clubs", he added.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation (BPF), said: "These situations are never easy, particularly now for the retail, hospitality and leisure businesses on our high streets at the sharp end of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Source: GMB / BBC News