The Association of Indoor Play call for immediate close alignment of indoor gathering rules for venues across the UK, as parents demand explanations about differences between nations and between parallel industries after the delay to the easing of lockdown in England.
Whilst wedding parties can now have unlimited guest socially distanced children typically from the same social group / class / family are being denied birthday parties at Covid secure indoor play venues.
Chair of the Association of Indoor Play, Janice Dunphy, said "Children are spending all week playing alongside their friends at school only to be told they cannot play with them at the weekend because they are English or Scottish".
Despite the strict social distancing rules, limits on capacity, supervision, 2 hourly disinfection sweeps and inspection criteria that indoor play venues have to meet, English and Scottish children are denied safe celebrations with their school friends while being free to visit crowded high streets and retail venues or watch TV images of football fans jumping all over each other during goal celebrations.
The Association have uncovered misalignment between the local Environmental Health (EHO) authorities interpretation of what is allowable as indoor playcentre owners are given hugely varying advice from their local EHO's. AIP continues to press the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) for clarification so that there may be a a common understanding of the laws across the Country and not a postcode lottery as to how indoor play can run its business.
Frustrated parents whose demands for explanations go unanswered are now starting to host 'undercover' parties indoor at private homes or asking hospitality venues to ignore the law.
The AIP call on the Prime Minister, and First Minister of Scotland, to put children first, recognise the sacrifices made by children and play venues these last 15 months, and acknowledge the need to immediately allow indoor venues to host children's celebration events in a regulate supervised manner.
In a recent poll by Association of Indoor Play (AIP) the majority of respondent Centres are running at a loss greater than 30% and in most cases this exceeds 40%. With business rates soon due, VAT bills to be paid, Bounce Back Loan payments starting and rent pauses ending our industry is now in a critical position and need this income. Parties are over 30% of indoor play income.
Andrew Newton (Head of Lobbying & Press for AIP) Email: email@example.com