Due to the spread of the new, even more contagious variant of the virus, it has now become necessary to implement a new national lockdown, in order to get this new variant under control, and ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed and can continue treating COVID and non-COVID patients alike. I know that this will come as another major blow to casinos and our entire hospitality sector, and I want to assure you that nobody wants any more restrictions than are necessary to keep people safe.
We know this is an airborne virus that thrives on social interaction, especially indoors, and while good ventilation and ‘COVID-secure’ measures can help mitigate this, while case rates are high, it is important that time spent in these places is limited, especially in late night settings, where people are likely to be in close contact for extended periods of time.
The Government is keeping all lockdown measures and other pandemic restrictions under regular review, and I have no doubt that casinos will be able to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, subject to appropriate restrictions for the time. I am also pleased that vaccine deployment is proceeding quickly, and I hope that, between vaccination and the current restrictions, we will be able to end the pandemic in this country in the near future, so casinos and other hospitality venues can reopen fully and permanently.