Covid: Hayling Island Funland boss’s warning over tier change


The owner of an amusement park has warned of the “catastrophic” impact on business of being moved into tier four.

Funland in Hayling Island had to cancel its Winter Wonderland event and refund £50,000 in tickets when the area moved into top level Covid restrictions.

Marshall Hill said running a business during the pandemic was “taking an emotional toll you can’t describe.”

The government tightened restrictions in a bid to stop the spread of a new coronavirus variant.

The Hampshire conurbation of Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant was among areas which were placed in tier four on Sunday.

Under tier four rules, people are being told to stay at home, while non-essential shops and businesses have to close.

The family-run theme park has been staging its Winter Wonderland Christmas event at a reduced capacity, but Mr Hill said staff were now processing £50,000 of refunds following Saturday’s announcement.

“An event which was making a profit is now a loss, after a year of losses and we don’t know when we are going to re-open.

“There was no planning, no preparations – I had staff in tears.

“There is stock that has to be paid for, running costs don’t stop, you just have to ask ‘how long can I carry on?’

The park ordinarily employs up to 50 people and has been in Mr Hills family since the 1940s.

But he said the business would only fold “over my dead body”.

“You don’t give up without a fight until the figures tell you it’s pointless.

“There is the economic destruction and it’s taking an emotional toll you can’t describe.

“The government is in a terrible position, but any business needs to plan, not stop-start.

“I’m loyal to my staff and customers, but it’s been catastrophic.”

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Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


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