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Dodgems sit dormant as Barry's of Portrush waits for OK to open

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Barry’s in Portrush is waiting for government advice to reopen. Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph

Barry’s in Portrush is waiting for government advice to reopen. Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Barry’s in Portrush is waiting for government advice to reopen. Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph

Those hoping to visit Portrush landmark Barry's Amusements will have to wait a little bit longer for a ride on the big dipper and dodgem cars.

The historic north coast tourist attraction says it is still awaiting confirmation from Stormont ministers on when it can reopen in time for the summer season.

Barry's has been owned by the Trufelli family for the past 94 years and was put up for sale last year.

Several potential buyers have been linked to the sale including Gareth Murphy from We Are Vertigo and actor Jimmy Nesbitt.

The site, which sits on the Castle Erin Road seafront, was opened by Evelyn Chipperfield and Franceso Trufelli in 1926, who met when the Royal Italian Circus toured Ireland three years earlier.

Since the family announced it was selling the business last November, some people had resigned themselves to a Portrush without the famous amusement park.

In March, it was confirmed that while the business was up for sale as a going concern, it would reopen for summer 2020. Weeks later Northern Ireland was placed in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement posted on its website at the weekend, a spokesperson for Barry's said: "In light of the coronavirus crisis, unfortunately we do not yet have a confirmed date for the reopening of Barry's and are awaiting information from the Northern Ireland Executive.

"We trust everyone understands that the situation is beyond our control and once again we would like to thank our loyal employees and customers for their continued support.

"When Government advice does change, we will review the situation and advise accordingly.

"We urge people to stay safe and follow government advice," the spokesperson added.

On Saturday, theme parks in England including well-known attractions like Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland and Alton Towers welcomed families for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.

Like all businesses, they have had to enforce a number of new safety measures under new government guidelines.

Visitors will now have their temperatures checked upon arrival and are asked to bring face masks as these are mandatory for certain rides.

Some rows of seats have been left empty in order to minimise the risk of spreading the disease while social distancing markers are in place to make sure people don't get too close along with hand sanitiser stations and staff clad in PPE.

Many theme parks have also warned not all rides will be operating when they first reopen.

Belfast Telegraph