There appears to have been some confusion about when bookmakers are allowed to reopen for business, with many returning to work two weeks early.

Most Irish bookmakers reopened their shops yesterday, but today firms such as Ladbrokes and Paddy Power closed their retail outlets until 29 June.

In a statement to RTÉ Radio 1's Drivetime, Paddy Power said its management yesterday became aware of a Government specification that bookies should not open until that date, and a decision was taken to close their shops from this morning.

"Paddy Power shops opened yesterday, in line with other bookies in Ireland, following the Government guidelines on reopening of retail outlets," the statement said.

"All our shops have detailed operational protocols in place in all shops to ensure that social distancing and other public health requirements are met in full in the interests of colleagues and customers.

"During yesterday, we became aware of a Government specification that bookies should open on June 29th.

"Hence, we took the decision to close our shops from this morning until we have the green light to go ahead."

The Government said there is no confusion about the matter, and in a statement to Drivetime, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation said: "Under Schedule 2 of the regulations signed by Minister Harris on 8 June, licensed bookmakers are listed among the businesses and services not permitted to open at this time."

Other bookmakers, including BoyleSports, have remained open today, on what was the opening afternoon of the Royal Ascot racing festival in England.

The Irish Bookmakers' Association said betting shops reopened on Monday based on the Government's announcement.

It said it was informed yesterday that betting shops shouldn't reopen until 29 June. It said this was at odds with the Government's initial announcement and is seeking clarity on the policy.

"Betting shops throughout the country had reopened based on the Government's approach to reopening retail outlets in general," the IBA said. 

"Betting shops have put in place comprehensive protocols to fully adhere to public health guidelines.  

"It came to light yesterday that a public health statutory instrument published last week specified that betting shops should not reopen until 29 June.

"This is at odds with initial Government announcements on retail reopening.  

"The IBA is seeking clarity on the Government's policy to reopening in order advise members of the factual situation relating to reopening."