Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases, the UK entered into a new lockdown. The new measure ordered the closure of “non-essential” businesses and may last until mid-February.
New Lockdown in UK Closes “Non-essential” Businesses
In light of the ongoing pandemic, the UK rolled out additional restrictions aiming at reducing the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions came into effect yesterday and were deemed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the “hardest yet“. The additional measures do not come unexpectedly as, until January 4, more than 50,000 positive COVID-19 cases were reported daily for the last 7 days.
The new measures are effectively closing all “non-essential” businesses. Entertainment venues, schools, and colleges are also affected by the new COVID-19 restrictions. Bingos, betting shops, casinos, and other “non-essential” venues were allowed to reopen on December 2 after the second UK lockdown ended. Now, only a month after, those venues are forced once again to shut their doors. Undoubtedly, this is another devastating hit by the pandemic for the casino, hotel, and leisure industries.
The current lockdown is the third lockdown that the country has introduced in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. It is expected the new measures to be in effect until mid-February at least. During that time, the Government hopes that the pressure on hospitals will gradually decrease.
BGC Reaffirms Its 10-Pledge Action Plan
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) submitted a response in light of the new lockdown. The Council said that its team members have “reaffirmed their commitment to our 10-pledge action plan” aiming at protecting both staff and customers. The 10-point plan which the BGC reaffirmed was initially revealed in March last year as the country entered its first lockdown.
In a statement, Michael Dugher, BGC chief executive, commented that BGC members did not hesitate to sign up for the 10-pledge action plan, considering the lockdown. He acknowledged that the safety and welfare of both staff and employees remains of utmost importance in the coming weeks.
In conclusion, Dugher said that by re-affirming its 10-pledge action plan, the BGC is showing strong support for the Government in the fight against COVID-19.
Elite Sports and Horse Racing Not Affected by the Lockdown
Although the new lockdown affects multiple businesses and industries, elite sports as well as the Premier League are not affected. Those sports are allowed to continue operating while following strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“Following this evening’s broadcast, we can confirm racing will continue behind closed doors during the upcoming national lockdown,”
reads a statement by the British Horseracing Authority
In a statement, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) revealed that horse racing attendance will be limited only to “essential” workers involved in the staging of fixtures. The Authority added that horse racing will continue behind closed doors during the lockdown and the venues will follow strictly the COVID-19 protocols.