Covid-19: Easter maybe cancelled but North West businesses say they are ready to reopen and fight back

  • Report and blog by ITV Granada Reports Correspondent Paul Crone

With Covid-19 cancelling the great Easter Getaway for a second year, Granada Reports correspondent Paul Crone went to meet three very different businesses desperate to reopen.

A cabaret club in Blackpool, a small hotel also in the resort, and a glamping site in the Lake District.

Each tell their own story of their hopes and fears for the next few months.


I’ve always had a soft spot for comedians. I hugely admire the ability to walk onto a stage, to be met by a bunch of total strangers, with the sole purpose of making them laugh.

And of course, there’s the ever present possibility that through no fault of their own, theaudience won’t laugh..cue sound of tumbleweed!

I’d like to think I’m funny, but just don’t think I have what it takes to do a stand-up spot on astage with an audience going..ok make me laugh if you can!

So, it’s been a tough old year for entertainers and comics during lockdown.

No gigs, no laughs no dosh.

Viva Blackpool cabaret club host Leye D Johns says he cannot wait to reopen his doors.

Tuesday 18 May promises to be the biggest night in Leye D Johns' career.

That's when the jovial host and compere at Viva Blackpool cabaret club will reopen after lockdown, circumstances permitting.

A full no expense spared show has been planned. Singing, dancing, comedy, You name it Leye will have it.

The club has been closed for months, and normally it can hold 600 people.

Host and compere at Viva Blackpool Leye D Johns, and funny man Joey Blower are anightmare to interview!

For starters you can’t get a word in edgeways. When a fridge door opens these two will do a 20 mins stand up routine.

I love Leye and Joey as they can read out a shopping list and make you laugh.

It’ll be some night when Viva Blackpool reopens its doors to the public, who I’m sure will bedesperate to have a laugh after a year of grimness.

There will be a reduced socially distanced audience allowed in on 18 May. Something our host with the most Leye D Johns is looking foward to hugely.

Also taking to the stage will be popular comedian Joey Blower who needless to say has mixed emotions about performing live after months of being sidelined by the pandemic.


Less than a mile away from Viva Blackpool is the Tudor Rose Hotel run by Mandy Cunliffe.

Mandy has enough enthusiasm to run The Dorchester in London single-handed.

Before we’ve even set the camera up, there’s a brew on the go. Mandy can’t wait to haveguests through the door in May - she’s already fully booked over New Year.

Mandy Cunliffe from the Tudor Rose Hotel in Blackpool is hoping to reopen on 17 May and is already fully booked.

She has 14 ensuite rooms and also holiday flats adjacent to her hotel.

She's hoping to reopen on 17 May as per Government guidelines, and after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, Mandy has taken a positive approach to the current crisis.

She is, in short, an absolute star.


For our final business we filmed at Full Circle Holidays at Rydal Hall near Ambleside in the Lake District close to the shores of Windermere.

(And before we’s NOT Lake Windermere. Never was, never will be! It’s just Windermere as mere means lake, so it’s like calling it Lake Winderlake... rant over!)

Set amidst stunning scenery Ben has 3 yurts and 2 Scandinavian cabins for people looking for something a little different.

Perfect to get away from the stresses and strains of a pandemic.

Ben Atkinson runs Full Circle Holidays at Rydal Hall near Ambleside in the Lake District.

Ben can reopen in May, and is hoping for a bumper summer and autumn. He’s convincedthe fact people most likely won’t be able to have a summer holiday abroad this year willplay into his hands.

Smart thinking Ben. He’s put blood, sweat and tears into his venture, and deserves to succeed.

It was one of those filming jobs we’d have love to have stayed all day. As the morning woreon, the rain eased and the clouds lifted above Windermere in the distance.

That said, I really should have worn wellies, and just about ruined a good pair of shoes hiking up to the cabins!

You'll be lucky to find a booking here before the end of 2021.

Ben hopes the difficulty of people travelling abroad for their summer holidays will put his business in a very strong position for the future.

But he still has worries about the present.

We wish our three very different entrepreneurs, Leye, Mandy and Ben the best of luck and hope they have a good summer.

Same goes for us too!