It has been a long 15 months for soft play centres and funfairs but they are finally able to reopen from today.
Businesses around the north and north-east will now be opening their doors after the region moved into Level 1 on Saturday.
The announcement from Nicola Sturgeon earlier this week was enthusiastically welcomed by many, including Aberdeen’s inflatable activity centre Innoflate.
The 16,000sqft inflatable park on the Beach Esplanade was forced to close its doors in March 2020 due to the pandemic and remained shut for 344 days.
‘It’s a great environment’
Emily Hall, assistant to the director and chief executive of Innoflate, said that opening day was “amazing” with a really good turnout of people.
She said: “After being closed for so long and being last on the list of places allowed to reopen, it’s so nice to see people here again, especially the kids.
“Because we’ve been living under restrictions for so long, this is our new normal, so we had an idea of what to expect when we reopened.
“Customers have to book online, and so far the attraction has definitely been there, and this helps us to manage how many people are visiting and make sure all guidelines are being followed.
“Obviously on the day things have popped up and it is different to before, but it’s just so good to be back.
“All the customers have been really positive today and just seem really happy to be out. It’s a great environment and we’re all happy knowing everything is under control.”
The activity centre features inflatable climbing walls, tunnels and basketball hoops for children and adults to enjoy. Innoflate in Aberdeen is the first branch to reopen as the other locations are still under Level 2 restrictions but hope to be back soon.
Back in business
Many people also gathered at Codona’s today to enjoy the warm weather at Aberdeen Beach and to visit the reopened attractions.
The amusement park and soft play area, Smuggler’s Cove, have been closed for the past 15 months but visitors have been able to take part in the outdoor adventure golf and go cart track.
Justyna, manager at Smuggler’s Cove, said: “We know a lot of parents have been waiting for this moment and looking for something to do with their kids, so we decided to open as soon as we could.
“This is the first time in 15 months that everything here has been able to open and after so long it is really good to be back.
“It’s been quite quiet today because of the warm weather, but we know it’ll get busier. We’re open every day and have the Little Nippers area for the youngest children and our role play street which has a market, restaurant and a disco for the kids to play in.”
“We have less people and less tables and everything is being constantly cleaned so it’s as safe as possible for everyone.”
‘Today has been fantastic’
Although numbers are restricted in the soft play area there is no need for customers to book in advance and there are indoor and outdoor options for families to enjoy.
Jenny Evans, from Forres, and her family decided to spend the weekend in the city centre now restrictions have eased.
She said: “We planned the visit on Wednesday after the announcement was made and as we had the weekend off and the weather is so nice, we thought we’d enjoy a night away in Aberdeen.
“It’s been so hard throughout lockdown to find stuff to do with the kids. My boys are two and nine, so it’s difficult to find something to entertain both of them.
“We were a wee bit apprehensive about coming here, but today has been fantastic. We’ve managed to avoid busy areas and there’s so much space for the kids.
“We will definitely be coming back.”