Alberta casinos would have to cease operation for the time being in a state of health emergency and global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has taken its toll on various industries of Canada, the gambling one being among them. Alberta would have to shut down all of its casino venues, in an attempt to flatten the curve and promote social distancing in the most comprehensive manner.
Premier Jason Kenney issued an official statement making it clear that the gambling venues across the province would have to cease operation in relation to the unprecedented situation. The state of emergency declared across the province automatically means that all congregations of upwards of 50 individuals are considered banned and people should practice social distancing in order to curb COVID-19 spread.
The Novel Coronavirus
Casino venues along with the popular bingo halls are about to be shut down for the foreseeable future, leaving people with the online gaming offerings provided by the gaming regulator. Hotspots to the likes of Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer have multiple casinos and bingo halls up for grabs that had been working up until the recent decision.
Some of them such as Century Downs Racetrack and Casino are adjacent to racetracks, making them even more popular. Keeping the novel coronavirus cases at bay is essential right now. As of March 17, the cases of confirmed COVID-19 amount to 97, with 23 new ones over the past 24 hours. This increase is the largest one so far on a provincial level and it appears that more restrictive measures should be implemented.
The Calgary region has 70 cases of the novel coronavirus, whereas Edmonton has confirmed only 20. Most of the individuals that have contracted the virus are self-isolating in their own homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health system of Alberta. Social distancing is the only way the curve could be flattened down the road, experts say.
Social Distancing Recommended
Casino locations across the province were among the popular venues that continued operation despite the growing concerns of COVID-19 spread in Alberta. The beginning of this week saw the conversation at the Calgary City Council. Councilors had something to say on the topic of social isolation and gambling congregations, claiming that the exemption of casinos and bingo venues should be lifted.
Schools and universities are closed now, but the casino venues remained open and with improved hygiene policies. Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley and Calgary Emergency Management Agency chief Tom Sampson were among the officials supporting a casino shutdown in Alberta. Mr. Sampson even went so far as to point out that the city could shut them down taking into account the provincial social distancing recommendation. The situation is rather dynamic.
Ahead of the shutdown decision, Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission also issued a statement claiming that the COVID-19 health crisis is to be reckoned with and its casino venues would be thoroughly cleaned and protected, according to the guidance of Alberta’s chief medical officer of health. In the meantime, provinces to the likes of Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec have already closed their brick-and-mortar casinos.