Bookmakers must give clear guidance to employees ahead of reopening – Flaherty

Published on: 21 May 2020

Fianna Fáil TD for Longford, Joe Flaherty has said clear guidance must be given ahead of the reopening of bookmakers across the country.

There are approximately 6,000 people employed in the estimated 1,178 licensed betting offices in Ireland. It is anticipated that they will reopen under phase three of the Government’s roadmap which provides for the reopening of non-essential outlets from June 29th.

Deputy Flaherty said he was contacted by employees of bookmakers who were very worried that the industry was not putting in place proper social distancing restrictions or providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for when they are allowed to reopen in June.

Deputy Flaherty said, “The workers I have spoken to are very concerned. By the very nature of their job they are used to having very full betting offices with customers coming in and out multiple times per day. Those who do not have self-serve kiosks have to take a betting slip and payment from a person across the counter.

“They have not been communicated with and they don’t know whether they will be provided with PPE equipment or whether there will be someone to enforce social distancing guidelines.

“I think it would be reasonable to expect that the bookmakers would put someone on the door, metering the number of people going in and out as we see frequently nowadays. They could request people using the bookmakers wear facemasks and direct them to use sanitiser. Workers behind a desk can’t be expected to do this.

“With horseracing set to return behind closed doors from June 8th there will be a greater demand on bookmakers. They all have their online platforms and they take in colossal revenue each year so it should not be too much to expect that they put in place the strictest health and safety protocols to ensure the safety of their staff.

“For their part the Government is going to need to ensure sector specific protocols and oversight are in place. What works for a shoe shop won’t necessarily work for a bookies and we need to get this right from the get-go,” concluded Deputy Flaherty.

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