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Written on 11th October 2020
Apologies for the delay in writing the waffles, its been a funny old time lately for almost every business and family in the world.
The tough thing is watching something amazing that you have created being under incredible strain like you have never seen before. Imagine a picturesque town with a tornado ripping right through the centre, this is how COVID has affected almost everyone in the UK. Nothing can stop it and its out of human hands, we just hang in hope and secure as much damage limitation as we can.
Nothing has really gone to plan, the Governement have gambled on a swift ideological outcome, and of course it has not arrived. The economic fall out has been so severe that we may think that the virus itself is bad, but what lies ahead is far, far worse.
Looking at the turmoil that the virus has created it is horrendous to see that pubs, restaurants and leisure are set to close again, already the case in parts of Scotland. The virus will never, ever go if we keep packing away the 'fresh meat' that the virus craves, it will only linger to attack those who have been tucked away for so long.
It is my view that we need to keep things moving. We tried the lockdown, closed leisure and hospitality and schools for long periods and it has achieved nothing, only poverty (perhaps a bigger killer than COVID itself).
I cannot stand my job at the moment, ensuring a mask is worn, taking personal details unless the QR can be used and getting all customers to sanitise on entry. However its working, we are preventing COVID from being in our venues and we are killing the virus whilst TRYING to give you all the BEST entertainment - albeit whilst you and me suffocate ourselves with a mask.
The whole situation is surreal, and for someone like myself that sees things clear-cut and in a transparent way I am very much unconvinced with some of the restrictions we are facing.
The streets being packed and queues of people for taxis and food at 10.05 is really something we have not seen since the pubs kicked out at 11pm. Back in the days of 11pm closures the streets were jammed and everyone had squeezed that extra ale down them, often tipping them that little bit over. You then have the 'new pub experience' of SIT DOWN NOW and no ordering at the bar. This is silly, and whilst you can take your mask of at the table, if you stand to put your coat on it is 'MASKFACE' time. Bizarre, and although I am all for safety and protecting each and everyone around us I must question some of these procedures.
The arcades are battling through, as our team and loyal customers, and we are eternally grateful to everyone that has and continues to support us through what is the most difficult time we have seen.
We have taken an opposite view of many and that is to INVEST and boost our portfolio of games ten fold. It may seem as a dangerous and high risk strategy but as the mind is tested it keeps our passion and belief in what we do alive. With mass withdrawal of some of our t7 machines we have replaced them with some of the best platforms in the market. Bognor still has retained some t7 machines, but we have a diverse mix of games there.
We have got ourselves ready for another mini lockdown but if it comes, which I really cannot see the sense in it, then it will push almost every business to the brink. Family businesses that have been passed down and carried on throughout the generations are now hanging by a thread. Devolved nations such as Wales demanding grants from some businesses to be REPAID.
The North 'red wall' that dug deep, keen to endorse Brexit and get it done did the unimaginable and voted Conservative, a HUGE thing for them. It is unlucky that the virus seems rife in certain parts, but in my view it needs to be 'played out' to see if those areas achieve herd immunity there, not just close the livelihoods down (again) and rip the life out of the towns and city's there. It perhaps is a tough call, there is no magic answer but these lockdowns are not helping, they buy time but come at a serious cost too.
We have cleared so many arcades since lockdown and it is saddening to see so many arcades close or be in unfortunate times. We clear not just the old machines but almost anything and this has enabled us to ensure that IF lockdown comes then we can keep our team employed in the units and behind the scenes shenanigans.
Many have been asking about Maidstone Reel Fruits and if it will be re-opening. We have made a decision regarding Reel Fruits and what will happen. We must remember that whatever the decision is, Reel Fruits lives on in Bognor Regis and as a brand is far from defunct. Mr P's Classic Amusements is our leading brand name but we care sincerely about the two but sometimes it is time to take a bow. Justin worked in Reel Fruits maidstone and we did offer him work (whilst maidstone was decided upon) in Reel Fruits Bognor, which he sadly refused. We were unable to open up a position within the Mr P's brand in Kent due to us currently being overstaffed there. We would like to thank Justin for his employement with Reel Fruits and we wish him the very best going forward, we understnd from people that he has found another job and hope that he is happy and secure and safe.
We have a lot of added stress behind the scenes with a few things, which whilst we are in what feels like an inferno right now we must press on and observe things with our eyes wide open.
I say this to all people with their own business or enterprise, you must buckle in, fight for your lives and get ready for the greatest battle ahead because unless your living under a rock the fight has only just begun, stand tall.
All the best,
Dave, Amelia, Ruby and Scarlett xxxx