The UK government has announced that casinos are not allowed to reopen on July 4. The BGC expressed disappointment of that decision and said that it plans to work with Ministers in order to find a resolution and reopen the venues in the near future.
UK Casinos Not Cleared to Reopen from July 4
The UK gaming industry will not restart as of July 4. Yesterday’s announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed the reopening of hotels, bars, cinemas, bingos and other businesses as of July 4. However, casinos were not included in that list of businesses which were given the go-ahead to reopen doors. Among the businesses that will still stay on hold are also nightclubs, bowling alleys, spas, beauty salons, swimming pools and more. Businesses that were cleared to resume operations will need to implement health and safety protocols in order to ensure secure operations in the post-COVID-19 environment.
Commenting on the subject, here is what PM Johnson said about the reopening of the businesses:
Our principle is to trust the British public to use their common sense in the full knowledge of the risks, remembering that the more we open up, the more vigilant we will need to be.“
It is important to mention that casinos along with other businesses were closed back in mid-March. This was an effort of the government to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread in the country. Now, three months later, the UK casino industry and many other businesses are looking to resume operations as soon as possible.
BGC Disagrees with the Government’s Decision to Keep Casinos Closed
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) did not wait long to respond on the news that casinos are kept closed after July 4. The BGC deemed that decision as “inconsistent and frankly nonsensical“. The regulator outlined that many operators have already prepared post-COVID-19 measures for safe reopening. Among the measures, social distancing is introduced with the help of reducing the overall capacity of each venue. This will ensure safe operations and enough space between each guest. Further to the measures, hand sanitizer will be administered on each guest that is entering an establishment, joining or leaving a game. In addition, high traffic areas and touchable surfaces are going to be regularly sanitized. Where possible, the operators have also installed plexiglass spacers.
The BGC pointed out that 14,000 people are employed by the gaming industry. Furthermore, the industry generates some £300 million in taxes which will undoubtedly aid the UK economy at such dire times. Commenting on the subject, BGC chief executive, Michael Dugher said that not only businesses but the whole country made sacrifices in the last few months in order to fight the spread of the virus.
He continued by saying that reopening of businesses will restart the economy. Dugher said that such restart is nothing but good news. However, Dugher stressed: “But it is inconsistent and frankly nonsensical that casinos are being forced to remain closed, when other parts of the hospitality and leisure industry are opening up again.” He continued by saying that keeping casinos closed is disappointing. In conclusion, Dugher said that the BGC is prepared to work with Ministers in order to find a way for casinos to reopen securely this summer.