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Caffeine Lounge in Sudbury reports 'shaky start' since re-opening following coronavirus lockdown due to loss in trade from reduced capacity

A Sudbury-based e-sports lounge is contemplating closing until social distancing regulations can be lifted, stating the restrictions have made it challenging to do business and led to potential revenue being lost.

Caffeine Lounge reopened its premises at the Borehamgate Precinct on July 4, but described the first weeks of trade as frustrating, citing the reduced capacity and difficulties in getting customers to comply with distancing measures.

The video gaming lounge and bar, which launched at the former Thing-Me-Bobs site in November last year, says the financial impact of the coronavirus lockdown almost caused the business to close for good, with grant and loan support helping it to stay afloat.

Founder, William Ward, pictured outside the Caffeine Lounge. Pic - Richard Marsham/RMG Photography. (22018011)
Founder, William Ward, pictured outside the Caffeine Lounge. Pic - Richard Marsham/RMG Photography. (22018011)

During the pandemic, the UK video games industry has seen a significant rise, as many people turn to online gaming while many other activities are restricted.

William Ward, founder of Caffeine Lounge, told the Free Press that he has lots of plans to kick-start the business again, and hopes to attract gaming fans in the future.

However, he added that the venue’s future will depend on when it can operate the way it did prior to the start of the lockdown in March.

“It has been a shaky start for sure,” said Mr Ward. “Many people don’t seem to be coming out. This is the same for all drinking venues in Sudbury. Everyone is suffering.

“We are finding it very frustrating right now. We are considering if we should close again until social distancing has gone, as it might not be worth the cost of opening.

“We have social distancing measures in place, but many are ignoring them and we have to constantly remind people of them.

“Because our capacity is also reduced, we are now losing customers at some times of the day, which isn’t great.

“Our day-time trade has gone. Kids especially are not wanting to come into town as much, as they don’t want to have to keep their distance from their mates.”

To find out more about Caffeine Lounge, go online to www.caffeinelounge.co.uk.

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