Casinos in England will be able to open from tomorrow.
The UK government has announced that casinos in England will be able to reopen tomorrow after extending the closure of certain indoor businesses in the country.
Casinos to reopen after a two-week delay.
Casinos in England have been closed since 20 March, several days before the UK entered lockdown die to the coronavirus pandemic. These venues were due to reopen on 1 August as the government made plans to relax certain measures.
However, less than 24 hours before casinos and other businesses were expected to reopen, the government made the decision to delay the reopening of these businesses for at least two weeks, citing concerns of a second spike of the coronavirus.
This applied to other indoor venues such as theatres, bowling alleys and beauty salons.
However, the government has now said that it will not extend the closure of these businesses and will permit them to reopen from tomorrow as long as the facilities have the appropriate safety measures in place.
BGC warns sector faces cough time ahead
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which criticized the government’s decision to delay the reopening of casino venues, said the latest announcement is a “welcome relief” to more than 12,000 employed in the casino industry. However, the BGC said the sector faces tough times ahead.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “We regret that it has taken so long for staff to return to work – long after all manner of venues and activities, that don’t have anything like the anti-Covid measures you will see in any casino, were reopened.
“Given casinos had been cleared by Public Health England as safe to reopen and given we had the strong support of DCMS, who have been steadfast throughout, it was lamentable that our safe businesses had to suffer considerable hurt and expense with a further pointless two-week delay.”
Dugher warned that casinos in England face an uncertain future as land-based casinos have lost considerable amounts of money during the closure period.
Earlier this week, the BGC called on the government to extend its coronavirus furlough scheme to help protect industry job and historic casino venues.
Dugher said: “The last five months has left many casinos on the brink and the next few months will be particularly crucial to their recovery as the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector slowly gets back on its feet. This sector can play an important part in our national economic recovery and I hope ministers will continue to work closely with the industry to provide support through this difficult period.”
Casinos elsewhere in the UK
Casinos in Scotland and Wales remain closed; however, the Scottish Government has indicated that they can open on 24 August.
Dugher added: “We hope that the Scottish Government will be true to its stated commitment about helping businesses and allow casinos in Scotland to reopen as scheduled on 24th August. Casinos have invested heavily in new Covid safeguards.
“There can be no justification for further delaying their opening. We continue to urge the Welsh Government to fully engage with the sector and seek the reassurances we can provide to bring about the safe reopening of casinos in Wales.”