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‘There’s been lots of smiley faces’: Soft play centres reopen after more than 400 days shut

After more than four hundred days with their doors closed, soft play centres - in some areas at least - are back open once more.
After more than four hundred days with their doors closed, soft play centres - in some areas at least - are back open once more.

After more than four hundred days with their doors closed, soft play centres – in some areas at least – are open once more.

Today marked the first time since the start of the first lockdown in March last year that soft play centres can open to the public.

However it’s just in areas which are currently in level one or zero, meaning centres in Dundee remain shut as the city is still in level two.

One such centre welcoming back customers was Frosty’s Soft Play Centre, in Forfar, and owner Mike Ferguson was “delighted” to see families lining up at the front door this morning.

Mike Ferguson, owner of Frosty’s Soft Play Centre in Forfar.

He said: “I’m delighted to get reopening, it’s been a long journey to this point.

“I’ve just counted today and it’s been 444 days exactly since we were shut down.

“It’s great to hear the kids in there enjoying themselves and the mums and dads can get a wee bit of a break whilst the kids burn off some energy. It’s what it’s all about.”

Guidance to be followed

Those coming to Frosty’s have to pre-book a slot for a particular session so that numbers can be monitored.

The centre also closes between each session so an enhanced cleaning regime can be carried out, as per government guidance.

Mike said: “We have guidance to work to and we’ve studied that in depth and applied it to the whole facility.

Kids enjoying the slides at Frosty’s Soft Play Centre.

“We’ve restricted our numbers greatly but the sessions this morning have been great and there’s been lots of smiley faces.

“Today and tomorrow will be a bit of a trial run but we’ve put every effort in. The place is cleaned within an inch of its life and the staff have gone through some terrific training.

“We’ll have team meetings after every session, or at least after every day, to see what went well, what didn’t and how we can keep improving.”

“It’s great to see all the wee ones”

It wasn’t just Mike and his staff who were relieved to be back; parents were also delighted to have the opportunity to relax whilst the kids burned off some energy.

One mum who took advantage of the reopening was Terri Johnstone, from Dundee, who took along her four-year-old son, Callen.

Terri Johnstone and Callen.

The 31-year-old said: “It’s so good to have them open. For the social side of things as well, it’s great to see them playing again – they’ve not really had much at all.

“It’s great to see all the wee ones as well, because obviously they’ve not had this before. It’s just good to see them happy.

“I really feel for the kids (because of the pandemic), you notice a difference in the way they’re acting and things so things like this let them let off steam.”

“It’s great to be back”

Kiera Fox was another parent who took a trip to Frosty’s for the reopening, brining along her three-year-old son Orryn for a morning of fun and play.

Kiera Fox and Zachary Clark with Orryn.

The Blairgowrie mum said: “It’s amazing, it’s great to be back.

“You know that there is going to be somebody here that they cab play with and it’s good for them to make new friends and things.

“The winter is usually when we come to places like this and (Orryn) has missed out on so much of this.

“We’ve had to make the best of what we’ve had, and obviously over the winter we were limited to what we could do, and it’s those months that you miss places like this.”

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