The UK’s casinos are preparing to reopen as the government begins to ease lockdown restrictions.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has said that its land-based casino operator members will be ready to reopen their doors to the public from 4 July.
Casino venues in the UK have been closed since 20 March as part of the national effort to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Last month, the UK government said that hospitality and leisure businesses may be allowed to reopen as part of the third and final phase to ease the coronavirus lockdown, however, this is still subject to approval.
Initially, the measures would only apply to casinos in England, and all of these casino venues would be required to operate in accordance with social distancing and hygiene measures to help combat the spread of the virus.
According to the BGC’s announcement, casinos in England must ensure their customers use hand sanitisers before entering the venue and when joining or leaving a table game.
Customers will only be allowed to enter casinos one at a time, and two-metre social distancing will be enforced in queues. In addition to this, casinos will be required to implement table capacity limits and provide face masks for customers if they request one.
Casino will also be required to adjust the layout of the casino floor to allow for social distancing measures to take place. Gaming machines must also be cleaned after each play session and ATM’s must be cleaned at least once every hour.
Plexiglass barriers will also be installed where necessary to keep staff and customers safe while ensuring social distancing measures can be carried out. Employees will also be trained in the new measures to ensure customers can comply with them.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “I know that the casino operators have been working tirelessly to ensure that when they do reopen for business again, every possible measure will be in place to ensure the health and safety of everyone who enters the premises.
“It is welcome that they are in line to reopen again from 4 July, but the message to government now is that they are ready, willing and able to open safely.”
Travel restrictions may have an impact on casinos
The BGC said that not all of England’s casinos will be able to reopen from 4 July due to the travel restrictions that are currently in place for people visiting the UK.
According to the rules in place at the moment, anyone entering the UK is required to stay at home and quarantine themselves for a 14-day period. Overseas tourists make up the majority of customers for high-end casinos in the UK and the BGC said that travel restrictions may need to be eased before some of the country’s high-end casinos reopen.
Dugher said: “We know that the casino sector faces some very tough times ahead and the threat posed by Covid-19 to many businesses won’t go away quickly. That’s why we would also urge the government to continue to be flexible in their approach to the hospitality and leisure industry as its furlough scheme is wound down.
“Even though they will be ready to open their doors on 4 July, casinos will still be forced to operate at a reduced capacity for some time to come because of the need to maintain social distancing. We would urge the Chancellor to keep being flexible and continue providing support as the country emerges from the pandemic.”