Irish bookmakers to close their doors as racing continues in new lockdown

After confirmation that the country would be entering a six-week lockdown, Irish bookmakers will close their doors to the public, with horse racing and greyhound racing exempt from the new measures.

The measures, which will see the entire country enter Level 5 lockdown protocols, will affect more than 800 betting shops across Ireland – a move which BoyleSports has said will have a ‘very significant effect’ on business.

In a statement, BoyleSports said: “The Government’s decision to shut down all non-essential retail will have a very significant effect on our business. More importantly, it will impact our 1,500 loyal and hardworking retail employees as well as our valued customers.

“Over the past six months, BoyleSports has invested over €1m in making our shops a safe environment for our customers. We have put up new screens on our counters and between machines, installed hand-sanitizing stations and have placed extensive signage in every store.

“At the same time, we have significantly restricted the number of people allowed in any one BoyleSports shop at any time to ensure compliance with all public-health guidance. We look forward to the reopening of our shops in Ireland on the 1st of December.”

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) initially recommended that the country enters Level 5 a fortnight ago. However, a letter from the country’s chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said there would be an “exemption for professional/elite/senior inter-county/horseracing behind closed doors.”

Under the new restrictions, horse racing and greyhound racing will be permitted to continue behind closed doors, along with the GAA inter-county championships, as they are regarded as professional and elite sports.

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