Flutter Entertainment’s Paddy Power has announced the reopening of its English and Welsh high street betting shops, although Irish outlets will remain closed.
Setting out social distancing measures and COVID-19 safety guidelines, only two gaming machines will be operational in each outlet whilst a maximum capacity of eight customers has been established.
Bettors can only visit a shop for no more than 15 minutes and can make no more than two visits per day, and a closing time of 8PM has been set up across all stores.
Additionally, all customer furniture has been removed from Paddy Power shops and no live sports or events will be shown on screens to encourage short visits.
“Our number one priority is keeping our customers and team members safe,” Paddy Power said in a statement on the firm’s official website.
“So, all our shops will follow the latest government guidelines on social distancing and ensure other public health requirements are met in full, in the interests of colleagues and customers.”
Customers must wear face coverings when placing bets in Paddy Power shops, but staff members have the right to ask bettors to remove a mask in order to validate their identity and age.
Furthermore, Paddy Power has encouraged its returning customers to use hand sanitizer to maximise hygiene, to dispose of any pens they use or keep them in order to reduce the risk of surface contamination and to log in to the NHS track and trace app.
Under the UK government’s current roadmap for exiting the country’s national lockdown, betting shops were given permission to reopen on 12 April, along with other non-essential retail businesses.
In addition, Scottish betting shops – including Paddy Power venues – will also be opening their doors to customers today (26 April).
Responding to the reopening of the industry, Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), described the move as ‘great news’ for the sector, which directly employs over 61,000 people.