Irish bookies to reopen in June

The IBA has set a date for reopening.
The IBA has set a date for reopening.

The Irish Bookmakers Association has decided bookies will reopen on June 29 once Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted in the country.

Ireland.- Bookies belonging to the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) have agreed to reopen shops on Monday June 29, coinciding with the third phase of the Irish government’s roadmap towards easing Covid-19 restrictions.

Retail betting shops in Ireland closed on March 16 owing to measures to control the spread of Covid-19. 

Smaller retail outlets in Ireland will be permitted to reopen with a small number of staff under phase two of the government’s roadmap in early June, provided that they can control the number of people staff and customers interact with.

However, during an online meeting of its members, the IBA decided to postpone the opening of all betting shops until the next phase of the plan which will begin on June 29.

The IBA represents all large betting chains and most small bookmakers in Ireland, meaning that around 755 betting shops across the country will reopen on June 29, permitting more than 6,000 retail and support staff to go back to work.

Sharon Byrne, Chief Executive of the IBA, said: “The top priority for our members is the health of their colleagues and customers. Our members are working to ensure robust safety protocols and procedures are in place to adequately protect staff and customers.

“Over the next number of weeks, we expect the public will have adjusted to the phased reopening of retail outlets in general.”

She said social distancing was likely to be a challenge for many businesses.

Byrne said: “All our members will adhere to the detailed guidelines given to them by the IBA and by Government.

“We are developing comprehensive procedures to guide our members in preparing their shops for reopening. We will also have an online training portal for retail staff, which is guided by the Government’s Return to Work Safely protocol.”

Betting shop owners expect revenue to be down until punters become more comfortable with the situation. Horse racing in Ireland is set to resume on June 8.

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