Half of Scotland’s betting shops to close on Friday under new COVID restrictions

More than half of Scotland’s betting shops are set to close on Friday after new coronavirus measures were introduced earlier this week.

Approximately 500 betting shops in Scotland are expected to close their doors on Friday evening as part of new coronavirus measures announced earlier this week.

This comes after Scotland’s government announced the introduction of a four-tier restriction system in order to halt the spread of coronavirus. 

Scotland’s new restrictions

The new restrictions will see each of Scotland’s council areas placed into one of four different tiers. Areas in the fourth tier will be under the tightest restrictions.

At the time of writing, 11 council areas across western and central Scotland will be subject to level four restrictions from Friday until 11 December. First minister Nicola Sturgeon said that level four restrictions are “intended to be short and sharp.”

The affected areas include East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire, North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

Under level four restrictions, all non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and gyms will be required to close their doors to the public, this will include betting shops.

When the announcement was made, Sturgeon confirmed that professional sports will be allowed to continue.

Sturgeon said: “Stubbornly high prevalence means that we might have less flexibility to offer some limited and careful easing of restrictions over the Christmas period which we are very keen to do. Moving to Level 4 restrictions for a limited period in some areas, while not a decision we would ever take lightly because of the wider economic and social impact, would help us to address both of these concerns.

“The clear advice of our public health experts therefore is that we must drive infection rates down further in these areas, and they are not confident that Level Three restrictions will do this to the extent necessary.”

The BGC responds

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has been incredibly critical of the government and the restrictions imposed on betting shops and casinos across the country.

In response to the new restrictions in Scotland, a BGC spokesperson said: “The BGC fully supports the Scottish Government’s efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19.

“Nevertheless, it is extremely disappointing for staff and customers that betting shops in these council areas will now unfortunately have to close, not least because of the excellent anti-Covid measures which have enabled them to operate safely since they re-opened in the summer.

“We hope that the shops will be able to re-open as soon as possible so they can go back to contributing to the economy.”

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