Alberta declared casino tables safe to reopen in consultation with Health Canada and Alberta Health Services
On Thursday, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw declared that table games are now safe to reopen at casinos and racing entertainment centers, with health and safety measures outlined in place, as reported by Global News.
Alberta casinos were ordered closed March 17 to combat the spread of COVID-19, and remained shuttered until slots were allowed to resume on June 12 under Phase 2 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy.
Deena Hinshaw stated, “The last few months, there’s been an opportunity to assess whether or not there’s been transmission in casino environments here, and also to look at other jurisdictions where casinos have opened with table games as a part of their process,”
“We haven’t seen transmission issues locally and with casinos that have opened table games, we have not seen significant transmission events there. So, looking at the evidence of spread as well as looking at the impacts and other factors that go into that decision, that’s the comprehensive look that went into deciding that piece.” She added.
Alberta updated its health and safety guidelines for casinos that include providing hand sanitizer and reminding patrons to sanitize prior to the start of play; stopping guests from gathering, cheering, shouting or back wager behind players at the table games; ensuring players stay two metres apart at all betting seats on table games; and that all dealers sanitize or wash their hands before their shift starts, before returning to tables after breaks, and in between in any deck or card shoe change.
Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis spokesperson Heather Holemen told Global News, “Some may be prepared to resume immediately, while others may require more time to get their operations ready,” and “AGLC will work with each facility to ensure available table seats are spaced every two metres (six feet), unless separated by a physical barrier.”
$347 million in gaming revenues was provided to Alberta charities in 2019, according to Alberta Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis.
The River Cree Resort and Casino has safety plans in place that were created in consultation with Health Canada and Alberta Health Services and announced it will be reopening table games on Friday at 11 a.m.
River Cree CEO Vik Mahajan said, “(Relaunching) benefits all of our employees, entertains the customers, it takes care of the charities, it takes care of the provinces revenues, so I think this is good for all Albertans,”
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