The global pandemic has left many industries in peril and the casino sector is no exception. Located in Minnesota, the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino has seen a particularly severe downturn in business due to the closure of the US / Canada border which had been shut down in an effort to halt the spread of the virus. Luckily for this establishment, the borders are expected to be reopened soon, once again opening the floodgates for Canadian customers.
In pre-pandemic times, the venue in Minnesota could count on a steady stream of customers from Thunder Bay in Ontario. The government-imposed travel restrictions effectively cut off a large portion of the property’s business, but the recent news that the borders may be reopened could bring the casino its most profitable period in over a year and a half.
The Enterprise Administrator, Brian Sherburne, relayed that the casino has already experienced a short-term increase in business, explaining that this was likely due to the reopening of the proximate Isle Royale. He emphasised that a majority of regular guests are still unable to visit the establishment and that this is hurting an already beleaguered local economy.
Sherburne went on to elaborate that far from just Canadians visiting the United States, its American customers headed in the direction of Canada were also in short supply. He made it clear that the casino and its staff are ready and waiting to reopen, should the news regarding the border work out in their favour, although the possibility of a further extension of the closure is a definite possibility.
While the sharp downturn in business traffic is a significant challenge, northern businesses have more to worry about when they resume trade as many of them have been experiencing staff shortages. With international visa workers unable to enter the country at the moment, remote venues have struggled to find enough individuals to fill their vacancies.
Sherburne ended his statement by saying that when the borders do finally open up again, the venue will have to deal with the challenges as they come and meet the influx of business with a reduced staff complement.
Barring any further developments, the travel restriction is set to be lifted by the 21st of August.