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‘Just nice to be open again’ - Seafront amusements on welcoming back visitors

PUBLISHED: 11:25 05 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:25 05 July 2020

Terry Duncan, 56, manager of Caesar's Palace, an arcade on Great Yarmouth's seafront, on July 4, 2020. Picture: Daniel Hickey.

Terry Duncan, 56, manager of Caesar's Palace, an arcade on Great Yarmouth's seafront, on July 4, 2020. Picture: Daniel Hickey.

Archant

Coins rattled again along the Great Yarmouth seafront as arcades reopened after three months of lockdown - but the feeling among business owners was a mixture of disappointment and restrained anticipation.

Caesar's Palace, an arcade on Great Yarmouth's seafront, on July 4, 2020. Picture: Daniel Hickey.Caesar's Palace, an arcade on Great Yarmouth's seafront, on July 4, 2020. Picture: Daniel Hickey.

The two-penny, pinball and claw machines, first-person shooters and airplane simulators were booted up again on Saturday (July 4), as restrictions on social life were further loosened across England.

Terry Duncan, 56, manager of Caesar’s Palace, an arcade on the seafront, said: “It’s been a long time coming.

“It’s been very steady today. People are coming in and walking out again. But every time somebody touches something, we have to clean it. We’re trying to be as vigilant as we can.

“It’s a learning curve. We’ve brought extra staff on today, more than on a normal shift.”

Sarah Daniels, managing director of Pirate's Cove and Castaway Island crazy golf on Great Yarmouth's seafront, on July 4, 2020. Picture: Daniel Hickey.Sarah Daniels, managing director of Pirate's Cove and Castaway Island crazy golf on Great Yarmouth's seafront, on July 4, 2020. Picture: Daniel Hickey.

He said some of the machines, having been switched off for three months, were taking some extra time to warm up.

“Different issues come to light once you do reopen, but it’s just nice to be open and the people we’ve spoke to today have said it’s just nice to be out again.

“Hopefully we’ll get a few weeks under our belt. We have eight weeks before the kids go back to school,” he said.

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Sarah Daniels, managing director of Pirate’s Cove and Castaway Island crazy golf, was “disappointed”.

Mark Lloyd, 53, train driver on Great Yarmouth's seafront, on July 4, 2020. Picture: Daniel Hickey.Mark Lloyd, 53, train driver on Great Yarmouth's seafront, on July 4, 2020. Picture: Daniel Hickey.

“It’s very quiet. We were expecting a few more people to be about,” she said.

“We’re relying on the next six to eight weeks to make our money for the year. After that the kids are back at school.

“We’ve never seen anything like this, it’s very surreal.

“I am very deflated, because you put so much time and effort into making the place Covid-secure and then nobody comes.”

The attractions had been closed since October last year.

Further along the Golden Mile, Mark Lloyd, 53, who drives the train between Joyland and the Pleasure Beach, was taking a break while waiting for passengers.

He said: “I think a lot of people are being reserved but I think it will build up.

“Usually we’d be really rammed by this time of year. The season starts at Easter and builds up from Easter. This is like Easter for now,” he added.

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