In the United Kingdom and retail bookmakers across England and Wales have reportedly re-opened after being forced to close their doors a little over 13 weeks ago as the nation entered its third coronavirus-related lockdown.
According to a report from the Racing Post, the Monday move is part of a plan from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to gradually get the country of some 68 million people back to normality following a year in which over 127,000 have died as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. The 56-year-old’s government is now purportedly hoping to have removed all remaining social distancing restrictions by June 21 with the revival for high street sportsbetting shops having been accompanied by the re-opening of hairdressers, gyms and pub beer gardens.
Despite the long-awaited re-openings, land-based betting shops in England and Wales are still reportedly prohibited from offering chairs or showing live pictures from sporting events such as soccer games or cricket matches. Such venues are also purportedly now required to follow strict capacity restrictions that top out at eight punters as well as limits on how long individual bettors can remain in any one property.
Alongside all of these and the re-opening bookmaking locations are now only permitted to offer a pair of electronic betting machines while moreover being obliged to close from eight o’clock every evening and limit individual customers to a maximum of two daily visits.
Even with all of these constraints and the Managing Director for independent bookmaking firm Chisholm Bookmakers Limited, Howard Chisholm, reportedly told the Racing Post that he is ‘looking forward’ to re-opening his firm’s 35 venues spread across the northeast of England. He purportedly furthermore declared that ‘staff are really pleased to be going back to work’ and that his executive team has ‘been around all the shops making sure everyone’s prepared.’
Chisholm reportedly declared…
“We know with the restrictions it’s not going to be as sociable as it is normally but we coped with the tier three restrictions before Christmas and the customers understand what needs to be done. Very few people come into a betting shop and spend all day there or all day on the machines so that shouldn’t affect things in the way people think it might.”
For his part and Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council lobby group, reportedly welcomed the move in advance of telling the Racing Post that the re-opening of betting shops could help to boost the battered finances of British horseracing due to the resumption of associated payments to the Horserace Betting Levy.
Reportedly read a statement from Dugher…
“It’s been a long three months for betting shop staff as well as their customers and I know they’re all looking forward to safely getting back to business thanks to the best-in-class anti-coronavirus measures in place.”