Casinos in Manitoba have been given the green light to re-open under the province’s Phase 4 guidelines.
Casinos in Winnipeg and Manitoba had closed their doors four and half months ago, as Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries said its focus was on the health and safety of customers and employees during the pandemic.
South Beach Casino opened its doors to customers on July 25.
“We’re operating at 30 per cent capacity, which is about 445 customers and employees at a time,” said Stephanie Thiessen, South Beach Casino’s director of marketing. “We have just over 460 machines operating.”
South Beach Casino, as well as Club Regent & McPhillips Station casino in Winnipeg, have precautionary rules in place to help lower the spread of COVID-19. Wearing masks for customers is optional, sanitization stations will be placed throughout the casinos and machines will be wiped down after each use, with casino staff available to wipe down machines upon request as well.
Yet some areas in the casino will remain closed, as physical distancing cannot be regulated in certain small and close-encounter spaces.
“We actually removed our table games to make sure we have that appropriate physical distancing for our customers and employees,” Thiessen said. “As well, we have indicators on the floor throughout the whole facility to make sure that the space is safe for any lineups with our customers and employees.”
Similar protocols will be in place for Casinos of Winnipeg, including the continued closure of poker rooms.
Michelle Gawronsky, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union, which represents some casino food and beverage workers, said that while some employees expressed concern about returning to work during the pandemic, for the most part, workers are ready to start working again.
“I’d say they’re all happy they’re back at work. They’re earning a paycheque. They can feed their families, pay their mortgage and just do what they do best, what they enjoy doing, which is welcoming and serving customers,” Gawronsky said.
“Overall, everyone I’ve spoken to, they’re happy to go back.”
Club Regent and McPhillips Station casinos are expected to open on July 29.
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