As with all entertainment and hospitality businesses across the UK, we at Viva Blackpool have had our doors closed and a butterfly effect of issues to deal with as a result of the Corona virus which has impacted lives and businesses in ways which were never imagined at the beginning of the year.
As well as supporting over 29 staff members on furlough and 15 cast members with weekly fun quizzes, regular video updates from our MD and a programme of live streaming chat shows and performances – behind the scenes the huge task of dealing with rescheduling over 100 performances and the customer bookings during lockdown has been a challenging, yet necessary job.
We are now hopefully looking at a re-opening date after consulting with staff, advisers and local hotel partners with a view of resuming a reduced show schedule from mid July.
Venue owner Martin Heywood said “Whilst awaiting full government guidelines to be released, we have drafted a number of sensible policies and processes which we confidently feel can ensure visits to Viva are safe, and the experience un-compromised. We are incredibly lucky to have a spacious and flexible venue space which we can adapt to a reduced capacity adhering to social distancing measures without compromising the sociable atmosphere of the venue. This well as adaptations to our drinks/table service, toilet facilities and entrances/exits to ensure we have appropriate measures.”
“We will of course act accordingly and adjust to the full government guidelines when they are released, but we are confident that the steps we are making will meet these guidelines and we will be seeking accreditation to be ‘Covid-Secure’ once inspection criteria and timelines are confirmed in the coming weeks”
“We will also be shortly consulting our loyal customers on what they would like to see us doing, or feeding back on the measures we are taking so we can fully understand concerns and their thoughts about moving towards some normality and being able to enjoy one of our shows, whilst feeling comfortable and safe.”
“Our biggest challenge we feel is not just adapting the venue to the changes necessary to ensure safety and comfort, but to make sure we actually have an audience to perform to and ensure that what we do is viable, practical and sensible. Having consulted local hoteliers, many of whom have confirmed that their intention is to open in July, and that they have a number of confirmed bookings for that week – we have decided to move forwards with a reduced 3 show a week schedule for July, and hopefully we will then be able to resume a full schedule from August onwards if we feel audiences are comfortable in returning to the venue.”
Our venue showroom usually boasts a capacity of almost 700 seated customers but to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to will be reducing down to 220 seated customers for the foreseeable future whilst social distancing measures are in place. In addition the venue bosses have plans for dedicated one way entrances and exits to the building, a rigorous cleaning schedule throughout opening hours, appropriate PPE provision for team members, revised table service processes and staff monitoring and training. Government advice on specific measures to be undertaken for hospitality venues is to be published in full in the coming weeks.
Venue host Leye D Johns added “These have been the hardest few months ever in every performers showbusiness careers. Hardly anything stops our talented cast of singers and showgirl dancers from getting on stage, and hopefully as we move towards being able to treat this virus, tracking & tracing and eventually a vaccine – we will be able to return to being able to do what we love 7 days a week. For now we are going to take it step by step, and give our visitors a chance to forget about the outside world for a short time and give themselves a well needed, safe and socially distanced break from 2020!”
“Ironically, it was in July that I opened the Alabama Showboat in 1994 – and 26 years later, I hope this re-opening is a positive move forwards for the town, and that we can begin to look forwards to a brighter future”
We have already implemented a new reduced capacity seating plan via our booking channels with a revised show schedule including The Jersey Beats, Viva Voulez Vous and Viva’s Saturday Night show starring Leye D Johns available to booking online via vivablackpool.com, or by telephoning our box office on 01253 297 297.