November 8, 2021
Covid cases across the U.K. are at their highest rate since mid-July.
The U.K.’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid is calling for people to get their booster shot or risk the return of COVID restrictions.
“If we all come together and play our part, we can get through this challenging winter, avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas,” says Javid.
Without improvement in the numbers, we may see more closures for recreational facilities like the Red Lodge Sports Pavilion, which provides services like soccer fields, tennis courts, and an events room.
Shazie Shujah is the finance officer for the Red Lodge Parish Council, who oversees the business aspect of the facility. She says lockdowns caused the Pavilion to hurt financially, but she also saw the community hurting as well.
“Lockdown was very, very grim. We were contacted by residents who were used to using the space. People were struggling mentally and emotionally.”
The Pavilion began offering an area of its facility to a volunteer group called Lightwave, which opened a food pantry and helped with the delivery of medications, clothing, blankets, and other household necessities.
Sujah says if another lockdown hits, it will have a detrimental effect on a facility that has not recovered financially from previous lockdowns.
“I think if there was another lockdown, it would probably result in a closure,” Sujah says.
She says, during the last lockdown period, which started in March 2020 and lasted almost the whole year, they furloughed grounds staff that maintain the fields and the cleaning staff that manage the building.
“It’s all very expensive to maintain,” Sujah says. “The Pavilion and the pitches cost us a lot of money. We would have to completely stop, and the village will be neglected.”
As for now, the facility is fully operational and is trying to recover its losses by dramatically reducing its hourly rates, which Sujah says is generating new business.