Many casinos and other businesses in Alberta are waiting for March 29 with bated breath as the local government is expected to announce its decision on whether or the province will get a Phase 3 reopening.
With most other industries having fully reopened while adhering to strict health and safety measures and restrictions, casino operators have been expectantly waiting for their turn too. The casino industry closure precipitated a punishing financial environment for the local gaming sector.
Alberta is the only province where no casinos are currently operating with all its gaming and entertainment enterprises being forced to close doors again three months ago. Theatres and general entertainment venues have suffered a similar fate.
Vik Mahajan, the chief executive of Alberta’s c says that the local gaming sector has endured catastrophic losses as the only remaining industry that is wholly non-operational. Mahajan stated that the sector as a whole has demonstrated adequate preparation for a safe and managed re-opening of the industry.
A significant stumbling block has been the objections of some locals regarding the re-opening of casinos, theatres, and other venues that may encourage public gatherings.
Local scientist, Glenn Weagle believes that the government should focus less on easing restrictions and more on enhancing its response to the emerging variants of the virus that are currently spreading across the globe. Weagle believes that a patient approach would yield better long-term results until all adults in the province have received the vaccine.
Weagle’s opinion is backed by Dr Darren Markland who has also spoken out against the re-opening of casinos and entertainment venues.
Markland stated he is also of the belief that sweeping reopenings should be delayed until the government‘s promise to vaccinate every adult by at least June has been realised Markland cautioned those who are pushing for reopenings, reminding them of the previous consequences of prematurely easing restrictions.
The reopenings were initially scheduled for the beginning of March but were subsequently pushed back with the end of the month expected to bring long-awaited good news for the casino industry. In light of this, the majority of gambling establishments have been prepped for a potential resumption of business for a few months now.
John Szumlas, the head of Bingo Alberta has stated that the venue’s employees have completed rigorous virtual training to get them ready for safe and compliant operations once the reopening is announced.