Leisure companies and investors left rattled when the government stopped them from reopening from the lockdown last-minute, on Friday breathed a sigh of relief as the green light to trade was finally given.
The government has said casinos and bowling alleys can reopen from August 14-two weeks after they were initially set to welcome customers back. The original plan was postponed in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Shares in bowling alley firms Hollywood Bowl and Ten Entertainment respectively jumped more than 8% and 3% in early trading.
Rank Group, behind Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca bingo halls, gained 3.2p, or 2%, to 139.2p.
Grosvenor Casinos will open 36 venues on Saturday. Managing director Jonathon Swaine, said it has been a “hugely challenging time for the industry”. He added: “We’ve been ready to reopen safely for a number of weeks.”
Laurence Keen, finance chief at Hollywood Bowl, welcomed the reopening news. He said: “We were clearly very disappointed hen told that we couldn’t open, with less than 24 hours before the planned reopening. That announcement was hard for the bowling industry, with the false dawn, the sunk associated costs of getting ready and disappointed customers.”
Nick Basing, interim executive chairman at Ten Entertainment said: "We are fully prepared and looking forward to bringing people and families together anddelivering entertainment in a very safe way.
The Hippodrome’s chairman Simon Thomas said: “We're delighted to be back in business. We're going to hit the road running, open 24-hours a day. We've spent the last four months completing a £3m new outdoor terrace, and have every confidence visitors and tourists will return to the West End.”
Trade association UKHospitality’s chief Kate Nicholls said the new update will help secure jobs and “come as a real relief to those businesses who were otherwise faced with really stark choices”.
The new guidance also allows beauty salons to start offering ‘front of the face’ treatments such as eyebrow threading, and conferences will be permitted to resume from October, provided rates of infection remain at current levels.