As Covid-19 pandemic sweeps the UK, many paintball players will be questioning if they will be attending events over the next few weeks and months, or if they should cancel attending events now, or wait for announcements?  And how this impacts events in 4 to 5 months’ time?

Many large events and gatherings across the country have been cancelled. We have been told by the government that ‘non-essential’ travel should be avoided, and we should reduce contact with others to curb the spread of Covid-19. The current state of the news and reports of panic buying has people on edge. The closure of schools and work places is looking increasingly likely and will add to make the situation worse.

We must remember that paintball is a game, it’s not considered essential and the community must put their families first. However this is bound to send ripples through the industry as cancelled events do not generate the revenue needed to sustain businesses. Many rental sites are small family run businesses; they have already gone through the wettest winter on record and will be looking to Easter as the time when the revenue starts to come back in from the rental trade. If the general public decide to stay away then sites will obviously struggle. Many have land rent, insurance and staff to pay regardless if they are busy or not.

The decision that the game organisers and sites will have to make over the next few weeks will not be taken lightly, as it stands many events still plan to go ahead as normal, unless the official government force them to close.  Those that postpone events will find a crowded calendar at the end of 2020 as other events try to re-arrange dates, clashes are bound to happen. All we ask is that players understand that cancelling events is the last thing organisers want to do. Many will stand to lose out financially as promotions etc. will have already gone ahead. If an event has to cancel, please be as supportive and understanding as you can, this is much better than kneejerk reactions of getting angry and venting on social media. Even if you think you are at a low risk or think the media have blown everything out of proportion, others may have underlying health problems to consider. If you do attend an event, please be sensible and use hand washing facilities or sanitiser, avoid unnecessary contact where possible. If you show any signs of illness, just stay at home.

Many people will be concerned as they would have booked time off, accommodation or even flights to attend events. Event organisers are currently being swamped with concerned customers asking what will happen over the next few months. They, like you, will hope that the pandemic will be over in a few months and not drawn out. They will not have all the answers and we ask that you keep an eye on event pages, websites and social media. Sites, businesses and event organisers will announce any changes as soon as they can.

If you have paid for an event that has been postponed please do look at changing your plans to suit the new date. This will help event organisers cash flow, rather than asking for a refund. We know this is not always possible, so be patient if you have asked for a refund. Most organisers will be understanding and compliant. Many hotels are allowing people to change dates and even cancel bookings with no charges. For overseas events, some airlines are allowing new dates to be selected, although refunds are only being issued if the flight is actually cancelled. For those still waiting for refunds for NXL Spain, many of the airlines have not actually cancelled the flights, and at this time, are still planning on flying, so changing the date is currently your only option. If you change your date, then you have opted out of any refund.

During this turbulent time we can, as a community, be understanding, respect each other, be positive and support our local sites and game organisers.

In summary;

Keep an eye on the events social media pages. Any information will be put out there.

Any accommodation or transport for future events uses a credit card to get any cancellation cover. Pay the extra to cancel without penalties.

Try to attend on another date if an alternative has been offered.

Be understanding and supportive to event organisers, they don’t want to cancel either.

If you show any signs of illness, just be sensible and don’t attend.

Once things are back to normal, the local sites and business will need your support more than ever. If you are able, go to that Walkon, support that game.

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