WORCESTER’S bingo hall has been forced to close after being hit hard by the coronavirus.

Buzz Bingo, based in Foregate Street, will not be reopening after the franchise announced that 26 venues across the country will be permanently closed, due to the “severe impact” by the pandemic.

Eighteen people who work at the city club have been told they face redundancy. 

Buzz Bingo, Worcester, shared on Facebook: “Everyone has been impacted by Coronavirus including us here at Buzz Bingo, which means we have had to make some difficult decisions.

“It’s with a heavy heart we announce that Buzz Bingo Worcester will not be reopening and is closing permanently. 

“We’re really sad to bring you this news as we know this will be a difficult time for our community and our colleagues. 

“We hope that you will continue to play with us online at buzzbingo.com.

“We’d like to thank all our customers and colleagues for their ongoing support and for making our community amazing.” 

The company is proposing to restructure the retail estate and has placed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) on the 26 affected bingo halls.

The popular bingo hall closed its doors on March 21 following the government’s announcement. 

A spokesman from Buzz Bingo said: “This follows a period of productive consultation with Buzz Bingo’s various stakeholders, including its landlords, aimed at securing a sustainable long-term future for the business following the outbreak of Covid-19 and resultant lockdown. 

“Under the proposed terms of the CVA, while the majority of clubs (91) will continue to trade, 26 clubs will close permanently due to what the company expects will be an unsustainable operating environment for the foreseeable future. 

“The challenges facing businesses at this unprecedented time of lockdown due to COVID-19 are well understood. Like many others in the leisure and entertainment sector, Buzz Bingo was forced to close all its clubs across the UK, which have remained closed since Saturday 21 March. It put immediate measures in place: minimising costs where possible, reducing senior management pay and making use of the Government’s furlough scheme for the vast majority of employees.”

The remaining 2,800 workers will return to work next month when Buzz Bingo reopens its remaining 91 clubs from August 6.

Chris Matthews, chief executive from Buzz Bingo said: "The ongoing pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for the entire leisure and hospitality sector and an immediate and significant impact on our business. 

“Following a thorough review of our options, the proposed CVA will restructure our retail portfolio to ensure we are well positioned for a return to growth, while adapting to the ongoing, challenging environment as we start to reopen the majority of our clubs. 

“Our lenders are supporting our plans and our owners, Caledonia will be investing into the new structure to further strengthen our future business. 

“The restructure will, very sadly, impact a number of our colleagues and my priority is to support all those affected and keep them fully informed as we continue with this process.

I would like to thank every single one of our colleagues for their continued understanding and commitment over this period.”