Since the UK government had announced that casinos would be allowed to reopen on the 17th of May 2021, brick-and-mortar casinos all over the country were working hard to get everything ready to reopen their doors after being closed for over a year. The news of this ease in lockdown restrictions formed part of the country’s level 2 lift of restrictions which also includes the reopening of theatres, restaurants, pubs, and other industries.
What Restrictions Will Be Enforced?
There will of course, be several strict Covid-19 restrictions that will need to be adhered to in order to protect the casino staff and the general public. First and foremost, customers entering the casino buildings will be restricted to one person at a time. They will also need to sanitise before entering and some casinos will take the temperatures of their customers upon entering and be asked to sign a register.
Furthermore, all patrons are also required to keep a two-meter distance between them at all times in order to ensure that proper social distancing practices are adhered to. They will also be required to sanitise their hands when joining a table and when leaving a table. Depending on the casino, masks are said to not be mandatory at this stage however face coverings will apparently be available to customers upon request. There will of course also be a limit on the number of people allowed on the premises at a time as well as the number of people allowed at a table at once.
What Will Reopening Casinos Mean for The Economy?
Casinos have always made a large contribution to the UK economy. When they were forced to close at the end of March 2020 along with most other non-essential industries, it had a severe impact on the country’s economy. The casino industry contributes over £500 million in tax to the UK economy every year and more than that, they employ over 11,000 people in total.
Of course, the industry will take quite some time to recover, and it is unsure when they will return to the point where their revenue is back where it used to be pre-covid, but this is certainly a huge step in the correct direction. One of the most important things that the UK government now needs to ensure is that Covid-19 improves in the country; they also ease restrictions in order for casinos to up their revenue as much as possible while keeping the general public safe.
What Will Happen Going Forward?
The country was scheduled to move to Level 1 on the 7th of June 2021. This would have meant that households could meet, there could be gatherings of up to 30 people indoors, and organised indoor activities could consist of 50 people whereas outdoor activities could have up to 100 people.
This is certainly a lift of restrictions that many people were excited about, however, in light of the recent spike of the Covid-19 Delta strain, the Prime Minister had moved this ease of restrictions up to the 19th of July in order to try and ensure the general public is not unnecessarily exposed. This is not the first time that an ease of restrictions has been postponed due to a spike in infections. The reason why Prime Minister Johnson had moved the ease or restrictions to the 19th of July is that the government believes that by this time, the population will have a good and solid wall of immunity around them as more and more people are being vaccinated by the day.
There is talk of a review of the lockdown extension taking place in order to see if it can perhaps be moved up from the 19th of July to the 5th of July. If this review is successful, then hopefully it will also mean good news for UK casinos in that more people will be allowed on the premises at once.
There are many people who are still quite weary to visit public locations like casinos despite all the safety precautions that have been put in place. This comes with good reason as the UK is still seeing around 7,000 new Covid-19 cases per day and at this time that number does seem to be rising.
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At this time, we can only hope that the situation in the UK and all over the world will improve for the sake of the industry, the players, and all the casino staff.