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Signs of life: England’s betting shops reopen

As England slowly emerge from their latest lockdown, the country’s iconic betting shops are being allowed to reopen to the public. It’s a major sign of life returning to normal in a country that’s been hit hard by COVID-19 and its associated shutdowns, but questions remain. Will the punters return? Is it too late to make up for lost ground? Will there be more shutdowns in the future?

For the time being, betting shop operators and employees are celebrating the fact that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed off on the reopening as part of his “roadmap out of lockdown” plan, which is in its second stage. Bingo halls and casinos are set to reopen during the next phase of reopening, which goes into effect on May 17. That said, Johnson is said to be relying scientific data to guide his decisions, so nothing in the future is written in stone.

Commenting on the betting shop situation Johnson pointed to anti-COVID protocols that have made the shops relatively safe, despite the dangers of COVID. “Betting shops must be allowed to reopen alongside other non-essential retail,” he said. “Last summer, when most betting shops were able to open, they showed that they have best-in-class anti-Covid measures compared to any other part of the high street to protect customers and staff.

“Likewise, casinos are eager to help Britain get back on its feet. The night-time economy has taken a hammering during the pandemic and draconian restrictions, including the 10pm curfew, have made a difficult situation more desperate for many businesses,” he said in comments reported on by