Lollipops Playland and Cafe Menai to close after being crippled by Covid

A popular indoor play centre for young children at Menai is closing after being crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lollipops Playland and Cafe, at Club Central, will close on Sunday afternoon October 25 in a move that is certain to disappoint hundreds of youngsters and their parents.

The associated Underworld Laser Tag centre will continue to operate.

Announcing the move, the Lollipops team said, "It has been our honour to provide thousands of smiles, hours of laughter, and help hundreds of people build lasting memories with friends and family".

For nearly five years, Lollipops gave children the fun of climbing, sliding, swinging, jumping and spinning in a safe environment while their parents watched on while relaxing with a coffee or snacks from the cafe.

Along with similar venues, it was forced to close when COVID-19 hit and, since reopening, has rigorously implemented safety measures, including temperature checks for every child and adult patron.

Paul Sexton, owner and managing director of Inside Out Entertainment, said Lollipops hadn't recovered and resources had been exhausted.

"Everyone that comes here loves it - there are just not enough people coming," Mr Sexton told the Leader.

"Pretty much, it's the impact of Covid.

"We were closed for three months and the business just hasn't come back.

"Lollipops is busiest during the winter period, and that's when we had to close, and there are still restrictions on numbers.

"Underworld Laser is a completely different business, it's in demand year around."

Mr Sexton said Club Central had been a great support during the entire period his business had been operating.

A Club Central spokeswoman said they were "very disappointed" to lose Lollipops, and were looking for a new tenant to take over the space.

A message from Mr Sexton and his team to patrons said:

"Lollipops Playland and Cafe Menai has been building a 'fun' community inside and out of our spacious play areas.

"It has been our honour to provide thousands of smiles, hours of laughter, and help hundreds of people build lasting memories with friends and family.

"Unfortunately this small business will be closing its doors, permanently, from 26th of October 2020. Our last operating day will be Sunday 25th of October 2020

"This looming closure not only impacts myself but the entire Lollipops Family - especially our staff, but also the Menai community.

"We were thrilled to re-open in July after being closed for three months but we have understandably, had continued slow attendance.

"The Lollipops team has worked hard to ensure we are following COVID guidelines plus any other State and local guidelines, to ensure we provided a sanitised and safe place to play. But this isn't enough, business has remained very, very slow and we have exhausted all of our resources.

"Community has been at the core of our business since day one.

"We thank you, our fantastic guests and the team at Club Central Menai who have been an incredible support over the years."