After meeting with protestors outside of Scottish Parliament, Tory MSP Graham Simpson is speaking out in support of safely reopening Indoor Play Centres as 64% of these centres across Scotland are predicted to close permanently by Christmas 2020.
A rally was held outside of Scottish Parliament on 23rd September where Mr. Simpson spoke to Chris Stewart, Airdrie-based owner of Weanz World Play Cafe as well as other supporters. They discussed the impact of the SNP Government’s inaction on Mr. Stewart’s business and how it is essential that Indoor Play Centres are allowed to reopen or gain some kind of government support.
Indoor Play Centres provide exercise and fitness for children in a fun and safe environment. There are approximately 145 centres in Scotland, almost all being small family businesses.
These 145 centres collectively employ over 4500, mostly female staff. Staff are a mixture of full-time and part-time from a wide range of ages and can be teens, working mothers and more.
Indoor Play Centres have been open in Wales from 10th August, the 15th August in England and the 14th September in Northern Ireland with no detectable adverse impact on the spread of coronavirus.
In Scotland, Indoor Play Centres were given the provisional date to prepare premises, staff and stock for opening on 14th September but that date was taken away leaving many centres with no realistic opening options.
Unlike Council outdoor swing parks that are neither sanitised nor monitored, Indoor Play Centres in Scotland have a full list of the many coronavirus measures they have adopted. These centres are ready to open their doors to the public in a safe, measured way.
Graham Simpson, MSP for Central Scotland said:
“Nicola Sturgeon has made the point that 96% of businesses in Scotland are open and yet continues to ignore the remaining 4%. They too need our support.
“Why is it that adults in Scotland can eat, drink and be merry in pubs but children cannot access this form of play, exercise and social interaction?
“With winter fast approaching, kids need a way to play in a safe, public, all-weather environment.
“Beyond coronavirus, there is real concern for the mental health and socialisation of our youngsters. Indoor play also has the potential to be a key part of the government’s obesity reduction strategy in Scotland.
“These are difficult times and public health must remain our first priority but with these centres open elsewhere in the UK with no detectable adverse impact on the spread of coronavirus, the SNP Scottish Government must open these centres in a safe way or these spaces will shut permanently.
Chris Stewart, Owner of Weanz World Play Cafe in Airdrie said:
“We have been closed since the 20th March but, in reality, have had no income from as far back as the start of March when customers stopped attending due to government advice to avoid social gatherings.
“I understand these are difficult and uncertain times but whilst the Scottish Government has said under-12s do not need to socially distance, my business, which is for younger children is not allowed to reopen even though I can demonstrate it can be done safely.
“Many of the health and safety practices being put in place by other venues were general practice within Weanz World Play Café.