As part of a new national three-tier structure to tackle the increasing spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the closing of casinos, betting shops, and adult gaming centres, as well as broader hospitality companies, in Merseyside.
Johnson announced that retail, schools and colleges will remain open, detailing the new steps to be implemented from Wednesday, while the government intends to reduce the R number that SAGE assesses, which is currently between 1.2 and 1.5 nationally.
The current three-tier structure consists of medium (tier one), high (tier two) and very high (tier three), with all household mixing forbidden and companies similar to those in the highest risk group. In areas of very high risk, restaurants will continue to trade.
Tier one retains the existing restrictions of the 6 and 10 pm hospitality closures law, with all indoor household mixing prohibited in the middle category but allowing mixing outdoors, including private gardens.
Regions that currently have household mixing restrictions are to be immediately placed on “high” alert, as Johnson has also noted that “new financial assistance” worth about £1 billion would be made available to local authorities in England.
With rumours continuing to rise during the day, Johnson outlined a deal with local Merseyside leaders: “I can report that we have been able to reach agreement with leaders in Merseyside. Local authorities in the Liverpool City Region will move into the ‘very high’ alert level from Wednesday.
“In addition to the baseline I have outlined, that is as well as pubs and bars, in Merseyside gyms and leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will also close.
“I would like to put on record my thanks to Steve Rotheram and his colleagues for their cooperation in very difficult circumstances.
“Engagement with other leaders in the North West, the North East and Yorkshire & Humber is continuing.”
The Betting and Gaming Council outlined its disappointment in response to this afternoon ‘s announcement: “Hugely disappointing announcement from Boris Johnson that hundreds of betting shops and six casinos, employing 2,300 people, in the Liverpool City region are to close from Wednesday. This is despite there being NO evidence that they contribute to the spread of #COVID19.”
Johnson, ending his address to the House of Commons, stated: “With all the lessons we have learned in the last few months we are becoming better and better at fighting this virus, and though I must warn the House again that the weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult, and will test the mettle of this country, I have no doubt at all that together we will succeed.”
Hugely disappointing announcement from Boris Johnson that hundreds of betting shops and six casinos, employing 2,300 people, in the Liverpool City region are to close from Wednesday. This is despite there being NO evidence that they contribute to the spread of #COVID19
— Betting and Gaming Council (@BetGameCouncil) October 12, 2020