Blackpool Tower lights up with urgent ‘SOS’ message as tourism bosses say Tier 3 Covid lockdown leaves seaside resort facing ‘catastrophic’ economic collapse
- Business leaders in Blackpool have warned they face collapse due to Covid-19
- The popular northern resort has been placed in a Tier 3 lockdown by Number 10
- In an open letter, traders in Blackpool have warned about possible job losses
Iconic British landmark Blackpool Tower has been lit up with the letters ‘SOS’ in a desperate bid for help as strict lockdown restrictions have left the resort on the brink of collapse.
Business owners in the seaside town say they have had ‘mass cancellations’ on an ‘unimaginable scale’ since being pushed into tier three Covid-19 restrictions.
In an open letter to Boris Johnson, 1,000 traders described the current conditions as a ‘perfect storm’ and warned about the possibility of hundreds of job losses.
Business leaders in Blackpool have issued an SOS call claiming hundreds of jobs are under threat in the seaside resort as a result of the Government-imposed Tier 3 lockdown
Hotels and B&Bs would normally be fully booked during next week’s half-term break
Instead, lockdown restrictions have forced many businesses to pull down the shutters
Hotels, B&Bs and holiday rentals which are usually fully booked for the October half term will ‘lie virtually empty’ next week, the desperate businesspeople said.
The letter warns that without urgent aid dozens of businesses will shut before the end of the year.
Councillor Lynn Williams, the leader of Blackpool Council, said it was ‘alarming’ to see how fast the tourism economy had ‘unravelled’ since the town entered tier three.
She added the financial support currently in place is ‘nowhere near enough’.
The letter goes on to say the tier three announcement being made just hours before it came into force, created ‘chaos and confusion’.
The October half term accounts for 20 per cent of total annual income for some businesses and the tourism industry is worth £1.6bn to Blackpool and supported 25,000 jobs.
Local authority officials last night lit the 158m tower in red and displayed the letters ‘SOS’ to highlight the issues raised in the letter.
Cllr Williams, said: ‘The speed at which our tourism economy has unravelled on the back of last week’s lockdown restrictions is alarming.
‘What has become totally apparent is that the measures that have been put in place are nowhere near enough to support a tourism economy like Blackpool’s.
‘We have hundreds of businesses here that were not included in any of the government’s temporary closure orders but due to the imposition of regulations and advice relating to travel are more likely facing permanent closure.’
Kate Shane, from Merlin Entertainments which manages Blackpool Tower, said it was ‘catastrophic’ to ‘lose the most important two weeks of the year’.
She added: ‘As a tourism industry we find ourselves in uncharted waters.
‘Losing the Easter and May bank holidays was a terrible start to the tourism season, but to lose the most important two weeks of the year in October half-term is catastrophic.
Some businesses in Blackpool would normally make 20 per cent of their annual income over the October half term
‘Throughout this pandemic we have fully supported the Government’s efforts.
‘We invested significant amounts in training, PPE and enhanced measures to ensure we were COVID safe for all of our guests and employees before we re-opened in July.
‘We feel we have done everything asked of us and more. All we ask in return is that the Government does right by us and puts in place bespoke measures that will help all of Blackpool’s tourism businesses get to the other side of this crisis.
‘If they don’t, it jeopardises the years of investment that has been made in resort regeneration as we seek to create a brighter future for the UK’s favourite resort.’