Gaming machines in pubs not to be used, Scottish Government says

Activities like pool and darts are “advised against” for the time being

GAMING machines in pubs should not be used for the time being and the likes of pool tables and darts are advised against, the Scottish Government has said.

Pubs and bars got the green light to open indoors from July 15, with operators required to undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment for their premises, identifying – from both a customer and staff perspective – potential risks and the controls that have been implemented in order to reduce those risks. Physical distancing also has to be implemented in hospitality venues and outdoor areas – either the standard two metres or a one metre distance, providing mitigating measures are put in place. Those measures can include: no standing at bar areas/all customers to be seated; reviewed layouts to ensure one-metre spacing and back-to-back or side-to-side seating between seated groups; face coverings for staff; improved ventilation; reduced noise from music or TVs to ensure customers will not need to raise their voices; and clear ‘one metre zone’ signage at entry points and throughout the premises.

The Scottish Government confirmed yesterday (July 23) that gaming machines “cannot be used in any setting for the time being”.

When asked by SLTN about the likes of pool tables and darts, a government spokesman said: “The use of other facilities within bars, either with hard surfaces that require frequent touching to operate, and/or require customers to move around the premises or congregate in groups, present an increased risk of transmission of coronavirus and are advised against at this time.

“This also contributes to the requirement for measures to be taken to reduce noise levels to avoid the raising of voices, which is covered in guidance.

“Business need to consider what steps they can take to reduce surface transmission of the virus from areas of multiple touch points to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Commenting on the news that gaming machines cannot be used, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said: “This has been one of the issues that has created some confusion around the reopening of pubs and bars. This is very disappointing as this represents a continuing restriction, but the need for continued caution around high risk areas is of course paramount.”