Blackpool Winter Gardens admits drop in ticket sales after Plan B announcement

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens says it has seen a mixed response from visitors implementation of the government’s Covid Plan B guidelines

 

The ride is part of the festivities hosted by Blackpool’s Winter Gardens (Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

One of Lancashire’s most popular event spaces has seen a mixed response from visitors, since the government’s Covid Plan B guidelines were announced last week.

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens has a packed Christmas events schedule and although it is confident it will remain open over the festive period the new guidelines have “definitely affected the business”, a spokesman for the venue told LancsLive.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the latest restrictions in a bid to stop the rapid spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

It has had a knock-on effect hostility and entertainment venues across the county, with some experiencing mass cancellations and an uncertain, anxious festive period.

The guidelines include wearing a face covering at indoor public venues such as theatres and cinemas, working from home where possible and a covid passes showing full vaccine status will now required to attend larger events such as sports matches, gigs and nightclubs.

The multi-purpose Winter Gardens complex has a number of events spaces, including the Empress Ballroom and conference rooms, with the Winter Gardens Wonderland complete with Santa’s grotto, funfair and Bavarian-style market chalets, currently running, alongside a three-week stint of Hairspray at the Opera House.

RMCH charity patron John Thomson (Image: Simon Webb)

The venue’s biggest Christmas party event was last Saturday and was largely unaffected by the December 8 announcements however numbers for another scheduled for this coming weekend have dropped due to cancellations.

Event organisers are seeing private sector bookings being honoured, while public sector ones are pulling out, with many part of “essential services so wisely scaled back to ensure they can keep on delivering as required”.

And while ticket sales for Hairspray “slipped” last Thursday, Friday and over the weekend they have “since recovered to levels we’d expect.”

Prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement they had sold 27k tickets for the musical, starring John Thomson.

“It was very much a case of people attempting to understand and reacting to the announcement towards the end of last week,” added the spokesman.

“It has definitely affected the business but unlike many theatres and venues that have sadly closed, we’ve been able to keep operating. “As we have for the past two years, we’ll adapt and keep working to keep the team, visiting companies and the guests safe.”