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JRA eases more restrictions at off-track betting sites

| By Aaron Noy
The Japanese Racing Association (JRA) is to ease restrictions at a number of its off-track betting (OTB) locations, with facilities able to accept bets on a wider range of races from 26 September.

Operations at the JRA’s OTB sites have been limited since its network began to reopen in July 2020, following a period of closure forced by the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

Though certain locations have been allowed to reopen, certain restrictions have remained in place as the JRA sought to prevent the spread of Covid-19, such as only allowing punters to wager on certain races.

However, from 26 September, JRA’s Park Wins, Wins and J-Place OTB facilities in the Kanto, Kansai and Tokai areas will be able to accept bets on races nine to 12 at all racecourses, as well as races open to prior-day wagers.

The locations had previously been limited to taking bets on the day’s feature race at all racecourses, and races on which prior-day wagers could be placed.

Meanwhile, the JRA also announced that it will resume certain operations at its Excel Hamamatsu and Excel Hakata from 26 September, as well as at the Wins Urawa and J-Place Kanazawa locations the following day.

These sites will continue to operate with strict measures, and must close by 2pm each day, not show live race footage or display odds information.

Measures that will remain in place across all JRA facilities include high-touch surfaces being cleaned and disinfected frequently, with plexiglass barriers and vinyl curtains installed at certain points.

JRA staff will have their temperature taken, record their physical condition and disinfect their hands before starting work, as well as wearing masks, gloves and face shields while at work.

Customers visiting the facilities will have their temperature upon entry, with anyone showing symptoms of Covid-19 to be denied entry. The number of people allowed in a shop will also be restricted, with those inside required to wear a face covering, maintain distance from others and sanitise their hands

Entry will be refused to anyone who has come into close contact with someone that has tested positive Covid-19, or people that have travelled to a region or country with high or rising infection rates.

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