The beginning of the week saw the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, announce that England is entering the third national lockdown. The measure is being adopted as of midnight on January 5th and is set to last until at least February 15th.
The latest lockdown is once again set to include the closure of the land-based gambling sector. The measure has been unveiled as part of the Government’s efforts to reduce people’s exposure to a new variant of Covid-19, which is claimed to be more contagious.
As Prime Minister Johnson said, people will be allowed to leave their homes to go shopping for essentials, to go to the doctor’s, to exercise outside, or to go to work in the cases they cannot work from home. Also, the chief medical officers in the UK made a recommendation that the country should move to alert level 5, after raising concern that lack of action now might lead to overwhelmingly exceeding the capacity of the National Health Service.
The country has already reported a new variant of Covid-19, which is more transmissible and contagious than the original one. To date, more than 2.6 million coronavirus cases and over 75,000 deaths related to the coronavirus infection has been recorded in the country, according to data provided by John Hopkins University.
Retail Gambling Sector Suffers Massive Blow because of the Closures
The new restrictions will be similar to the ones unveiled during the first lockdown in March 2020, which forced multiple businesses cease operations. Entertainment venues, including casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, amusement arcades, would be required to shut doors for more than a month, until mid-February.
The beginning of the week also saw the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, unveiled a new stay-at-home order because of the spreading new variation of the infection. Lockdown restrictions have already been put in place in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Shortly after Mr Johnson announced the new lockdown measures, representatives of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) confirmed that racing will continue but no fans would be allowed to enter the racetracks, and only the most essential staff members would be attending the events. The Authority released a statement, saying that racing would continue behind closed doors because of the upcoming national lockdown. All staff members attending the staging of fixtures would be subject to strict safety protocols.
Scottish Racing confirmed in a tweet that the country was set to re-enter full restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. Racing there was allowed to continue behind closed doors but no owners or public would be allowed to attend racecourses during fixtures until further notice.
The gambling industry in the UK has already suffered a significant blow because of the two previous closures of land-based gambling and betting venues. Many smaller gambling companies have warned that lengthy coronavirus lockdown could lead to betting shops and casino closures for good, while the ones that have built online presence have been relying on their gambling websites and apps to generate revenue during the hard times of social distancing and stay-at-home measures.