Land casinos in Canada are slowly reopening their doors following an absence of nearly three months.
But the threat of COVID-19 – the novel coronavirus which was declared a global pandemic three months ago and led to the closing down of non-essential businesses all over the world – still looms as a threat to public health.
And with that in mind, many casinos are taking their cues from health authorities and putting in place additional precautions to make sure that their customers and their employees are safe.
River Cree Casino in Edmonton, Alberta, which opened on 12th June, is enforcing capacity limits and asking customers and employees to maintain the recommended distances from each other.
CEO Vik Mahajan also said that cleaning processes had increased, with machines being sanitized every time a customer leaves, and marked as safe to use for the new patron.
While most of the games are available to play, and the restaurants in the casino have also opened, table games like blackjack and poker remain off-limits for the time being.
Century Casinos in Edmonton, St. Albert and Century Mile have also reopened, with live racing at the company’s two horse racetracks expected to resume soon.
The casinos introduced “comprehensive sanitizing and social distancing protocols based on Alberta Health Services guidelines and newly established industry standards”, according to a press release issued by the company.
Casinos in Saskatchewan will likely start opening up later this month, with guidelines being issued for the reopening of casinos and bingo halls, as well as other communal spaces like indoor pools, indoor rinks, libraries, museums, galleries and cinemas.
Other provinces are taking their time
Meanwhile in Ontario, the province which is home to 27 casinos – the greatest number of casinos in Canada – casinos are taking a longer time to open.
Casinos in the province remain closed, with no hint as to when they will be up and running again.
The construction of Gateway Casinos’ new multi-million-dollar facility in North Bay, which was expected to open this year, has also been put on ice, while the company works to get its existing facilities up and running again.
‘No timeline’ for reopening British Columbia
And in British Columbia, health officials have been quoted as saying that reopening casinos, bars and night clubs will be ‘complicated’.
So far no timeline has been established for reopening.
BC Lotteries Corporation (BCLC) interim CEO Greg Moore told a local newspaper that BCLC was working hard with service providers and putting together a full health and safety guideline, for all of its casinos around British Columbia.
“We are sending that information, working with the Attorney General, to assure that we can open safely,” Mr Moore told RadioNL.
While awaiting further information on casinos reopening their doors to the public, players in Canada can continue to play safely and comfortably from the comfort of their own home through online casinos.