5th August 2021
Covid 19 – As restrictions are gradually relaxed across the four nations of the UK one or two questions about face coverings have cropped up, the answers to which may be helpful to members.
- In Wales, from Saturday, the Country moves to level 0. That means most restrictions will be lifted. For members it is important to note that face masks must be worn in all indoor venues except in hospitality. The legislation still hasn’t been published so I do not have precise detail as yet.
- In Scotland, from Monday the country moves beyond level 0, where nearly all restrictions are removed. However, face masks will still be required in all indoor settings unless seated for the consumption of food or drink. Reports yesterday said that vertical drinking will be allowed in Scotland’s pubs, but we are awaiting official confirmation.
- In England, the wearing of face masks is advisory.
- Staffing – Members have been telling me just how difficult it is to find staff at the moment, and this has been dramatically compounded by the ‘pingdemic’ with sometimes whole shifts off work as they have been told to self-isolate. The NHS App has now been altered to make it less sensitive – it would be good to hear if members notice any difference in absenteeism due to ‘pings’ as a result. We hope there will be an alternative daily testing regime in place come August 16th in England.
- Every member where ever they are located should be conducting a health and safety risk assessment that includes measures to mitigate against the risk of Covid 19 spread. The bacta template risk assessments can still be used for this purpose.
Gambling Review – there is little to report since my previous update which picked up on the Minister’s statement on the day Parliament adjourned for the Summer. That confirmed he was still on track to publish a White Paper before the end of the year, something he confirmed when President, Greg Wood and I visited Clacton with him last week. (And I would like to thank both Elliot Ball and Billy Peak for showing him round the Pier and Pavillion respectively). Our engagement work continues with members hosting local MPs up and down the country. I am taking the Special Advisor to Oliver Dowden to an AGC and FEC on Friday, and in September we will be hosting the Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston, in Great Yarmouth.
Crime – I mentioned before that there appears to have been a number of attacks on High Street AGCs, as criminals realise that these are one of the few places on the High Street still using cash (and one of the reasons we are focussed on cashless alternatives for customers). Please let me know if you experience a robbery. This can be done in confidence, but this does allow us to build up a picture of what is going on and will support our conversations with police and with politicians.
BactaPortal – Thanks for all the feedback on the new bactaPortal, (which will host our self-exclusion service). It has been overwhelmingly positive, but has also elicited a couple of good ideas to make it even better. I am just seeing if any of these can be incorporated before launch this month. In the meantime please keep the feedback coming. I will also be shortly sending out a data sharing agreement to all users of our self-exclusion scheme. This will have to be signed before the service can be made available – this is a strict legal requirement – so please keep an eye out for that email and get the agreement back to bacta as soon as possible.