Wolverhampton fun fair visitors warned to stick to social distancing or be asked to leave

Visitors to a fun fair at Wolverhampton's West Park have been warned they will be asked to leave if they ignore social distancing rules when it opens on Monday.

The Harry Jones funfair is coming to West Park in Wolverhampton
The Harry Jones funfair is coming to West Park in Wolverhampton

The Harry Jones Company’s Fun Fair will arrive at the city’s park from Monday and run until May 9.

It comes as coronavirus restrictions are lifted on Monday – including the opening outdoor attractions such as zoos, fun fairs, fairgrounds and theme parks.

The Harry Jones Company is an experienced provider of fun fairs which has previously organised the Wolverhampton Fiesta in West Park, last held in June 2019. But this is the first time the fun fair has returned to the park since the Covid pandemic.

The arrival of the fair comes for the final week of the Easter school holidays and coincides with the opening-up of other permanent fun parks, like Drayton Manor and Alton Towers.

Wolverhampton Council said the organisers had put control measures in place, including a strict cleaning regime, and that anyone who fails to stick to social distancing would be asked to leave. The fair will be inspected and if there are any concerns that agreed measures are not being stuck to, the event will be cancelled.

People living on roads around West Park have expressed concerns on social media over crowds descending on the area.

And the news the fair will be opening its gates to families from Monday has led to mixed reaction to people who regularly visit West Park.

Hannah Dhimaan, 27, from Lanesfield, said: “I do think the fair is a good idea as it’s a good opportunity for people to get out and about and I think that’s what a lot of people need. I think as long as they’ve considered all the issues around social distancing and made sure everything is safe, then I don’t see any problems.”

Elizabeth Nicholls, 34, from Compton, said: “I’m not sure it’s a good idea in this current climate, to be honest. I didn’t know whether they were there from another place or they’ve had to change places, but I really think it’s something that should have taken place in a few months’ time.

“I’m concerned about social distancing and the point is that we’re just coming out of a lockdown and we’re trying to keep the numbers low, so I think if everyone went to this fair, there’s a chance of a spread and we could go back to the beginning again.”

Tiffany Lloyd, 32, from Cannock, added: “I think the fair is a good idea as it will allow children to get back out and see their friends.

“I do have some concerns about social distancing as there’s every chance people will get close to each other, but as long as people are careful, there shouldn’t be a problem.”

And a 65-year-old woman, who only gave her name as Sue from Penn, added: “I was surprised to find out it was taking place because of concerns around social distancing, but I’m assuming they’ll have it all in place.

“I personally don’t think it’s a safe thing to be doing, from an older person’s point of view, as you’re going to have people sitting next to each other and queuing and doing all the things you’re not supposed to be doing. I know the rules are being relaxed on Monday, but I still think we’re not far enough ahead to be doing too much.”

A spokesman for Wolverhampton Council, said: “Funfairs and fairgrounds and other types of events are permitted by national guidance from Monday 12 April as set out by the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. And as always, public safety remains our top priority.

“The event has been through the council’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG) which includes representatives from the emergency services, public health and various council departments - providing advice to help individuals and organisations plan safe events in Wolverhampton.

"The organiser - Harry Jones Company - has permission to use the site and has engaged with the SAG to develop their proposals in a Covid-secure manner.

"The organiser has put in place control measures to encourage social distancing and prevent the spread of coronavirus through personal protective equipment and a strict cleaning regime. Those who visit the event and do not follow the rules on social distancing will be asked to leave the site.

“Officers have scheduled inspections of the event and should there be concerns that the agreed measures are not being implemented, the event will be cancelled.”

The Harry Jones Company was approached for comment.

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