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Bury Bowl manager 'gutted and devastated' by Government decision to postpone reopening




The manager of Bury Bowl says she is 'gutted and devastated' by the Government's decision to postpone reopening of bowling alleys and other venues.

Claire Gouge has spent months preparing to welcome back customers to the popular Bury St Edmunds venue, in Eastgate Street, which was supposed to reopen at 10.30am tomorrow.

She feels 'let down' by the Government after being given less than 24 hours notice.

Manager Claire Gouge with artists Sharon and Joseph Kulesa with the mural they painted at Bury Bowl. Picture by Mark Westley
Manager Claire Gouge with artists Sharon and Joseph Kulesa with the mural they painted at Bury Bowl. Picture by Mark Westley

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that further easing of lockdown restrictions will be postponed for at least two weeks due to concerns about a spike in coronavirus cases.

This includes the reopening of bowling alleys and casinos and permitting wedding receptions of up to 30 people.

Claire is calling on the Government to do more to help businesses such as Bury Bowl, which has been unable to claim for Government support as it has a rateable value of more than £51,000.

She said: "I'm absolutely gutted and I can't believe it. It's about time the Government put some money in our pockets.

"This was supposed to be a really special day to get everything completed, put balloons out. I've got a local company who were making banners 'now open, welcome back, we missed you'.

"Staff came in head in their hands. I cried my eyes out.

"I should be celebrating opening tomorrow.

"It's devastating. I feel let down by the Government. It's great what they've done with the furlough but from a business point of view they've not helped the ones with a rateable value over £51,000 and something needs to be done as soon as possible."

She said she spent '50 to 60s hours a week' preparing for reopening including arranging PPE and the necessary safety precautions.

Claire even arranged for two murals to be painted at the bowling alley by artist Sharon Kulesa, 41, and her graphic and design student son Joseph, 17, during lockdown.

They are refunding customers or rearranging bookings.


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