British Columbia’s provincial government has recently revealed its new business restart plan, according to which casino properties will be able to reopen as early as July 1. In light of the new reopening plan, Chances Casino Kelowna has already made some arrangements about its potential reopening this summer, such as relaunching its indoor and patio dining areas.
Gambling entities in the province have been suspended from operations after the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020. It has been more than a year now since gambling fans have set foot in a land-based gaming venue in B.C., however, this could change as early as July 1, 2021, with the government’s new reopening plan.
July 1 Reopening
Stan Walt owner of Chances Casino Kelowna has officially reopened the property’s patio and indoor dining services on May 28. Mr. Walt explained that the partial reopening was to ease staff members back in before the actual relaunching of all premises at the property. He said that last weekend’s reopening was to reconnect with guests and offer them kiosks with scratch-and-win tickets.
According to him, the casino has undergone a substantial renovation in order to comply with the new health and safety rules. Slot machines are now decreased from 348 to 310 and rearranged and spread to an additional 10,000 square feet of space, thus providing enough social distance between patrons, once the venue is allowed to reopen its doors.
The owner has managed to keep over 15 managers and supervisors during the one-year wait for reopening. But Mr. Walt will need another 150 workers for the full reopening, and he is hopeful to see at least 60% of the staff members return to their positions. However, it remains unclear how many individuals have found a new occupation.
Additionally, the owner of the venue is set for a meeting with WorkSafeSBC representatives, to discuss the new mandatory health and safety measures. According to a news release on reopening protocols from the Crown Corporation the casino’s staff must undergo detailed training about enhanced health and safety protocols. Mr. Walt also stated that he must pay for the repair of some appliances at the property.
Extremely Difficult Lockdown
The B.C. casino workers have hot had it easy during the almost 15 months since the suspension of gambling properties in the province. New Westminster Starlight Casino staff members have taken part in a video called “Don’t Forget about Casino Workers”. The heartfelt video follows the story of two single mothers who were left without work from March 2020.
View Royal has also experienced the difficulties emerging from the existence of the unprecedented situation and the followed lockdown. According to its mayor David Screech, the region has been severely affected by the closure of casinos. The suspension has cost View Royal around CA$2 million in gambling revenue losses. However, Mr. Screech is concerned that even if casinos reopen, their return to normality will take some time.
Source: Munro, Rob “Kelowna casino has soft opening this weekend ahead of the full deal in July”, Infotel, May 28, 2021