Vicky Knight

It's a day of celebration as betting shops take a huge step towards normality.

‘Getting back to some sort of normality’ is the phrase we have been hearing recently as the Government’s anti-Covid restrictions have started to lift. We are now able to hug one another once again and will be able to eat at a restaurant without our food blowing away.

And, for betting shops, it means that from today, the restrictions which have been in place since we re-opened last month are finally being lifted.

The happiest of Mondays will see our TV screens switched back on and customers finally able to actually take a seat and relax as live events can be shown once again. Tables will also be reappearing for customers to write their bets out and enjoy a morning brew. Banter can return amongst the customers and staff in shops that have felt too quiet for too long.

We have found that customer footfall has bounced right back since the April 12th reopening. People want to be out and about seeing each other once again. If the last year of lockdowns has taught us anything, it’s the importance of human interaction, having a laugh with a friend and just being in the company of other people.

Many of our returning customers have told us that they missed the shops, and each other, but with the screens being off and the number of gaming machines being limited, the normal atmosphere has been missing. There has been less talk about races, which jockeys are in form and last night’s football results, and more groans about time limits and maximum numbers.

There has been so much work put in by teams across the business ensuring that our customers’ and staff’s physical and mental well-being is prioritised. The logistics of moving furniture, creating distance and changing the way we work has all been challenging.

Our managers are looking forward to their jobs being less focused on ‘policing’ customers on time spent and maximum capacity levels and returning to providing the excellent customer service they are great at. This will, of course, also involve our commitment to safer gambling and ensuring that everyone who comes through our doors has an enjoyable experience.

It is a lovely feeling to return to some sort of normality, and helping to contribute to the UK’s economic recovery. The pandemic has had such an influence on all of our lives and familiarity is something we have all been craving. Today should bring happier customers and in turn the happy shop environment that has been sorely missed.

Vicky Knight is Machines and Compliance Manager at Jennings Bet

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