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Bookmaker Sean Graham urges Stormont to do more for businesses as it temporarily shuts up shop

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Lay-offs: Sean Graham

Lay-offs: Sean Graham

Lay-offs: Sean Graham

A leading bookmaker has called for Stormont to do all it can to support the business community during the coronavirus crisis.

Sean Graham has warned that "many of our colleagues" will be temporarily laid off after it closed its business to customers until at least the end of the month.

The bookmaker employs around 150 people across 30 betting shops, mainly in Northern Ireland, with the rest in the Republic.

A spokesperson for the firm said that a closure support team had been put in place to "maintain communication with our colleagues during the closure period in order to help and support them through this challenging time".

"We will be reviewing changing events and government advice on a daily basis and should circumstances improve we have the agility to quickly reopen the businesses again and get all of our colleagues back to work," they added.

If we fail to act now we believe the virus could remain a much longer term threat to our colleagues, their jobs and our business Sean Graham spokesperson

"We believe we have a wider responsibility to ensure we play our part in trying to contain the spread of this virus and to protect our colleagues, their families, their customers and their communities, to the best of our ability.

"If we fail to act now we believe the virus could remain a much longer term threat to our colleagues, their jobs and our business.

"We hope other community based businesses similar to ourselves will likewise take steps to assist in combating the spread of this virus.

"Along with many other small businesses we ask for government to endeavour to support our colleagues and our business through this crisis."

Yesterday the Executive announced a grant of £10,000 to be provided to all small businesses who are eligible for the small business rate relief scheme.

There will also be a grant of £25,000 for firms in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors with a rateable value from £15,000 to £51,000.

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