When Little Stompers reopened on Saturday many Wollongong families jumped at the opportunity to bring their children back.
The first week has been one mostly enjoyed by toddlers who have been stuck at home with their parents and families during the COVID-19 lockdown. But many infants have returned disappointed there is no ball pit.
Co-owner Catherine Vormister said she was grateful to be open again in time for the school holidays because that is always their busiest time. But said the ball pit won't be back for some time because it is considered too great a risk while ever there is a chance that coronavirus is still in the community.
"Unfortunately one of the big things we had to change was the ball pit," she said.
"We had to take the thousands of balls out. They are no longer available so we have had some disappointed kids come in who've said 'but there is no balls'."
"The logistics of trying to keep them all clean just can't be done. So we have replaced them with some of the bigger soft equipment we can wipe over more easily with sanitiser and keep clean.
"Once the kids play for a while they are all grateful to be able to do that in such a centre again. And the parents are happy to get them out of the house after trying to entertain their kids at home for so long".
The tables near the cafe are now spread more than two metres apart and the equipment is constantly wiped with disinfectant. And at the end of each day Little Stompers does a really big clean of the entire play centre with stronger disinfectant spray that can only be used when there are no children around.
The family cafe, play and party centre closed on March 13 but patronage really started to drop three weeks before that.
Now after four months of little or no business Mrs Vormister was wondering if she and her husband Scott were ever going to be able to trade again. The timing could not have been worse because they only bought the business last August.
"We were on of the last businesses allowed to reopen," Mrs Vormister said.
"We were hopeful when they reopened the public parks. And when they opened schools full time we thought we might be in with a chance at the beginning of June. But it wasn't to be".
Now Little Stompers in Kenny Street can reopen it is limited to a maximum of 70 people at a time including children, parents and staff.
"In the past we have only charged for the children to enter but now unfortunately because of the restrictions we are having to charge parents to enter. But everyone has been very understanding so far this week," Mrs Vormister said.
Traditionally Little Stompers has an unlimited time limit on entry but during the school holidays it will have timed entry to give more families the chance to bring their children in for a play.
"We will have a morning session from 9am to 12pm and an afternoon session from 1pm to 4pm," Mrs Vormister said.
"It is still three hours. Some of the other play centres are only offering a two hour session. We find they need a little longer to have time to eat and have a good play".
Mrs Vormister said only running the centre for a short time before coronavirus hit meant it has really hit them hard so they are looking forward to a good holiday period.
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