Friday 8 May 2020 by Chris Ballard

Just keep soft play centres closed, plead parents


man in soft play area

Mums and dads across the UK are praying that the potential lockdown easing on Sunday won’t include the reopening of soft play centres.

Plans are being drawn up to ease lockdown measures over the coming weeks and months – shops will reopen, educational establishments will undergo a phased return and then eventually pubs, restaurants and cinemas will be allowed back in business.

“That’s all fine and everything,” said father of three, Simon Williams. “I understand we have to get the economy moving at some point.

“Just don’t let people back into soft play centres. I beg you. Please.

“For the past six weeks, my Saturday mornings have been, well, nice. Please don’t send me back into the eighth circle of hell – Funtasia.

“Slow Wi-Fi, crappy instant coffee at Starbucks prices, awkward small talk with other parents you don’t really know…

“Then there’s the noise of 150 four-year-olds screaming and pissing themselves in a metallic warehouse that is basically just a massive echo chamber designed to allow you to hear every occupant, clearly and simultaneously.

“The least they can do is install Solpadeine vending machines in the toilet but they don’t even have the decency to do that.

“’But it’s something to do when it’s raining’, people say. What the fuck do you think Disney+ is for?!

“It’s not even as if it’s quality time with the kids. It’s just the opposite – a way of ensuring you don’t have to see your children but in an environment so hideously stressful it can bring out the latent serial killer in the most mild-mannered of individuals.

“Until they ask you to ‘go in with them’ that is; at which point you have the pleasure of clambering over rubber parrots while trying not to kick someone else’s toddler in the teeth.

“I can’t go back! I won’t go back!”

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