All 200 betting shops set to close in South Yorkshire as Tier 3 imposed
All 200 betting shops in South Yorkshire are set to close from Saturday with Tier 3 pandemic restrictions being imposed in the area.
Around 1,000 betting shop employees will be affected following the announcement of the move to Tier 3, the highest level of coronavirus restrictions in England, by Labour's Sheffield City mayor Dan Jarvis after "extensive discussions" with the government.
The new restrictions will apply to all four local authority areas in South Yorkshire – Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
It becomes the fourth region in England to be escalated from Tier 2 to Tier 3, following Liverpool, Lancashire and Manchester, where the new restrictions will be imposed from Friday.
By Saturday all 1,176 betting shops across the four areas will be shut, affecting 5,775 employees. According to Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) figures the shops generate £38.1m a year for racing.
In response to South Yorkshire's move into Tier 3, BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said in a tweet on Wednesday: "Betting shops reopened safely back in June under non-essential retail. Gyms were not.
"I also know that Public Health England were concerned about reopening gyms compared with casinos. Let’s not anyone – mayors or government – pretend that Tier 3 closures are remotely about the science."
Dugher has written to business secretary Alok Sharma calling for his department to intervene over the closure of betting shops under Tier 3, labelling the restrictions as being "anti-gambling industry".
In his letter to Sharma, Dugher said: "There are currently just over 6,700 shops employing nearly 40,000 staff across the country, the majority of which are female.
"The singling out of betting shops for closure is unfair, unnecessary and runs counter to the sensible approach the government had previously adopted. This decision looks ill-informed, arbitrary, and along with plans to close Covid-secure casinos [that had offered to give up selling alcohol] it frankly looks anti-gambling industry."
The BGC said 400 betting shops and 12 casinos, employing 3,000 people, would be shut in the wake of the escalation in the restrictions in Manchester.
Under tier three, England's "very high" level of alert, pubs and bars which do not serve substantial meals have to close, and there are further restrictions on households mixing.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, who has been at loggerheads with ministers over compensation for the region, said: "Let's be clear who is most affected by a Tier 3 lockdown – it is people working in pubs, in bookies, driving taxis. People too often forgotten by those in power."
A circuit-breaker lockdown comes intro force in Wales from 6pm on Friday, forcing the closure of the country's 366 betting shops until November 9, a period of 17 days.
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