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European gambling venues to close as countries go back into lockdown

| By Robert Fletcher
Land-based gambling facilities across France, Germany and Italy will temporarily close again after the governments of each country announced new measures amid a resurgence of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

France’s lockdown will begin on 30 October and run until 1 December, though the government may extend this if the number of Covid-19 cases does drop significantly.

Citizens will be ordered to keep contact and travel throughout the country to a minimum, with people to again be urged to work from home if possible.

Only basic and essential shops will be allowed to remain open, with all other facilities, including casinos, betting shops and bingo halls, required to close for the entire lockdown period.

Schools, colleges, high schools and nurseries in France will remain open during the lockdown.

France, which yesterday (28 October) recorded 36,437 positive cases and 244 related deaths, saw its first lockdown run from 16 March to 11 May.

In Germany, the country will enter into a national lockdown from 2 November until at least the end of the month, though the restrictions will be reviewed two weeks into the period.

As in France, people will be urged to limit travel and contact with others, while accommodation in Germany will only be open for essential use and not available for tourism purposes.

Though gambling venues were not specifically named among the facilities that will be forced to close, the government said all recreational venues must shut during the lockdown. These include amusement arcades, theatres, cinemas and gyms.

Restaurants, cafés, bars, clubs, discotheques, pubs and similar establishments must also close, while professional sport may only take place behind closed doors without spectators in attendance. Schools and nurseries will remain open.

The German government also noted that it would make available “exceptional financial assistance” to businesses, self-employed people, associations and institutions impacted by the closures, to compensate them for financial loss.

Germany’s first Covid-19 lockdown ran from mid-March to 6 May, though the country has seen a steady rise in positive Covid-19 cases in recent weeks. The daily positive case count yesterday was 16,202, with 96 related deaths.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed an emergency decree that will also see the country enter its second national lockdown of the year.

From 2 November, Italian people will not be permitted to travel outside of their local municipalities, with the government’s message again being to limit contact with others.

Bars and restaurants will have to close at 6pm on weekdays and Saturdays, as well as all day on Sundays, while all non-essential businesses will have to close until at least 24 November.

The emergency decree classes betting shops, arcades and bingo halls among the businesses that must temporarily shut from 2 November.  

Italy entered its first period of national lockdown on 10 March, with the stricter lockdown measures lifted on 4 May. Yesterday, Italy recorded 24,991 cases of Covid-19 and 205 related deaths.

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