Paddy Power, owned by Flutter Entertainment, has announced the reopening of its high street betting shops in England and Wales, though Irish outlets will remain closed.
Just two gaming machines will be operational in each store, with a maximum capacity of eight customers, according to social distancing steps and COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Bettors can only visit a shop for 15 minutes at a time and can only make two trips per day, and both shops have an 8 p.m. closing time.
To promote short visits, all customer furniture has been removed from Paddy Power stores, and no live sports or events will be shown on screens.
Keeping customers and staff safe
In a statement on the company’s official website Paddy Power said: “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.”
When making bets in Paddy Power shops, customers must cover their faces, but staff members have the right to ask bettors to remove their masks in order to verify their identity and age.
Paddy Power has also urged returning customers to use hand sanitizer to improve hygiene, to dispose of or hold any pens they use to reduce the chance of surface contamination, and to use the NHS track and trace app.
Betting shops, along with other non-essential retail businesses, were granted permission to reopen on April 12 under the UK government’s latest roadmap for exiting the country’s national lockdown.
Additionally, Scottish betting shops, including Paddy Power locations, were open to the public as of Monday 26th.
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), characterised the industry’s reopening as “huge news” for the sector, which employs over 61,000 people directly.