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Norwich climbing centre announces temporary closure due to coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 16:05 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:05 19 March 2020

Highball Climbing Centre, in Twickenham Road, Norwich, has told its customers it has taken the decision to close for the safety of its staff, members and wider community amid the current Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Google Maps

Highball Climbing Centre, in Twickenham Road, Norwich, has told its customers it has taken the decision to close for the safety of its staff, members and wider community amid the current Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Google Maps

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A Norwich climbing centre has announced it will be temporarily closing due to coronavirus.

Highball Climbing Centre. Picture: Kathryn CrossHighball Climbing Centre. Picture: Kathryn Cross

Highball Climbing Centre, in Twickenham Road, Norwich, has told its customers it has taken the decision to close for the safety of its staff, members and wider community amid the current Covid-19 pandemic.

The closure, which comes into effect at 10pm on Thursday, March 19, follows a decision to introduce social distancing measures, which limited the number of people allowing into the centre at any one time.

Issuing a statement on social media, Mike Surtees, the owner of Highball, said the management team expected the closure to be “for more than ‘just a few weeks’”.

He said: “We hope this will be a temporary closure and will do everything we can behind the scenes to come out of this as strong as possible.

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“We have consistently and carefully listened to official information and advice, both nationally and locally, and believe now is the appropriate time to close, given our geographic location and how the virus is spreading.

“Our planned and considered decision to stay open was never about money - we’re losing money whether we stay open or close. The fact is we’d rather lose money while allowing people to continue doing something they loved - with sensible social distancing measures - for as long as possible.

“Climbing (and other forms of exercise) play a very important role for mental health and wellbeing, and we know how much Highball and climbing means to people in helping them maintain ‘balance’.”

Adding that the centre had been monitoring the spread of coronavirus since January, Mr Surtees said the management team had been advised the climbing industry was likely to be heavily impacted and had therefore been able to prepare.

Mr Surtees said: “I just want to say a huge thank you to all our customers for your constant support and kind messages during this challenging time.

“Our decision to stay open wasn’t maybe in line with everyone’s own personal view, but I know from speaking to a large number of you that you appreciate the effort and planning we have put in place to try and deal with this as pro-actively and sensibly as possible.”

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