A BINGO hall is calling its customers to come back after coronavirus restrictions were lifted.

Buzz Bingo in Blackburn reopened on August 20 but visitor numbers have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Sean Connolly, general manager of the town centre branch, is keen to reassure bingo fans that their safety is of paramount importance to staff.

He said: “Business was slow at first when we reopened but we are seeing some positive things now. All our staff have had full Covid-19 safety training and are putting thoughts into how people sit and ensuring nobody is held up in queues.

“But, I think with lockdown, people have been fearful of coming out and we want to reassure them they are safe at bingo.”

The bingo hall usually sees people of all ages coming through their doors, but those over 55 make up a majority of customers.

Mr Connolly said: “We are not seeing the very old customers coming back in since the lockdown ended. This may be because some people are still self-isolating, while others may be worried about safety at our bingo hall. We did not open when other bingo halls opened, so some people travelled to other towns because they were open before us. We want to get the message out there that we are safe and want to welcome our customers back.”

Along with social distancing being in place, Buzz Bingo staff are wearing masks, as well as hand sanitising stations throughout the hall, perspex screens and floor stickers.

Buying tickets for games has been made easier so fewer people are queuing up at any one time.

Mr Connolly said: “We are a key part of the community and offer a safe space for people to come and enjoy their time and we miss having all of our customers back with us. We like to take care of our customers, so if we don’t see them for a couple of weeks, we call them to check they are okay and we did this over lockdown too. We are picking up week by week but the threat of another lockdown is obviously not helping.”

Ahead of the Government’s lockdown, Buzz Bingo temporarily closed all of its clubs as part of its commitment to providing safe and healthy environments for colleagues and customers.

While colleagues were not working, many played vital roles within communities. This included adopting a new scheme, Buzz Buddies, in which a number of general managers were trained to check in with customers identified as vulnerable to ensure they had adequate access to food and healthcare.