June 15 is a red letter day for our industry, when thousands of betting shops across England open their doors again after nearly three months of lockdown.
Jenningsbet have been pleased to play our part in the national effort to combat the spread of Covid-19, and now we are looking forward to doing our bit to get the country moving again.
Our number one priority is the safety of our staff and customers and, to that end, we began our preparations for re-opening back in early May.
We have been working closely with our staff to make sure they have been involved in the process all along, ensuring they can come back to our betting shops 100 per cent confident that everything possible has been done to keep them safe and well.
In April, we secured the services of specialist contract cleaners, and each shop has undergone a process known as ‘fogging’, which is the easiest and quickest way to completely disinfect large areas. It thoroughly disinfects the air as well as any surfaces.
Staff returning to work will immediately see that we have pre-delivered a range of equipment – face masks and visors, rubber gloves, hand sanitisers, bottles of disinfectant, as well as alcohol-based solvent for cleaning machines. And staff can be assured that we have plentiful supplies in stock should they run out of anything.
We’re also encouraging staff to travel to work in their normal clothes and change into their Jennings uniforms when they arrive, to cut down on the risk of contamination outside the workplace.
Our primary responsibility on June 15 is to ensure the safety, as best we can, of not just our staff, but our customers too, so we are committed to safe social distancing. That means that where possible, staff and customers should remain two metres apart.
We’ve installed protective screens in every branch, and put up signage making clear just what needs to be done to keep everyone in our shops safe.
To make our shops comply with government guidelines, we’ve had to remove some items of furniture, and convert what remains into a safe space.
We’ve installed sanitiser stations at every entrance, and customers will be asked to sanitise their hands when they come in and when they leave. We’ve also clearly marked out on the floor where every customer needs to stand when they are queuing to get to the counter.
Screens have also been installed where necessary between our gaming machines to keep people apart when they are playing. And if that’s not possible, the machine will be switched off. Our machine suppliers have also given us styluses for customers to use rather than touching the screens with their fingers.
Only one customer at a time will be allowed to use the toilet, where there is signage giving clear hygiene advice. However, where we believe safety is being compromised, toilets will be closed.
As an added safety measure, each member of staff will be given their own keyboard at the till, to ensure no cross-contamination. At the end of the shift, they will either take it home with them or store it in a safe place to be used when they are next in the shop.
Perspex screens have also been installed between tills in order to keep colleagues in busier branches apart when they are working at close quarters.
We have also drawn up a strategy to give our staff peace of mind when they are working. Our busiest branches will be double-manned, with one person behind the till at all times and their colleague on the shop floor acting as a “social distance ambassador” making sure that customers remain two metres apart where possible and don’t congregate near the TV screens or machines.
Indeed, on June 15 I will be working as a social ambassador myself in one of our busiest branches, to show how confident I am that we have the best possible measures in place to keep our staff and customers safe, and to quickly rectify any teething problems we might have.
We will be monitoring the number of customers in a shop at any one time and staff will be asked to encourage customers to observe the social distancing rules.
We will no longer be leaving pens out on the shop floor. Instead, customers will have to come and ask for one from a member of staff at the counter, while our social distancing ambassadors will be on hand to make sure the shop remains clean and tidy throughout the day.
As a business, even in these difficult circumstances, we have a responsibility and a duty of care both to our customers and our staff. We think that we have prepared our shops as best as we can to minimise risk and create a safe environment to work in and enjoy a bet.
It has been a difficult few months for our country, but we are now, thankfully, seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m proud of what Jenningsbet have done in the last few weeks to prepare for June 15, and I can’t wait to safely open our doors again.
Greg Knight is managing director of Jenningsbet