The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been making headlines all over the world for a few months now.
Due to its highly transmissible characteristic, the virus has already managed to infect close to 700 citizens in the Australian region. The unfortunate situation has caused a total of six deaths in the said continent to date, along with 43 cases recovered. Despite the pressing issue, Australia has not imposed a total lockdown as compared to highly infected countries but instead, has outlined certain restrictions in efforts to contain the deadly virus. As such, people are advised to maintain social distancing and proper hygiene for their own safety and protection.
No Shutdown for Australian Casinos
While Nevada governor, Steve Sisolak ordered a 30-day shutdown of all casinos and other non-essential businesses, Australian casinos seem to have chosen a different way to adapt to the prevalent disease. Companies that run casinos in the country, specifically Crown Resorts, The Star Entertainment Group, as well as SkyCity Entertainment Group have recently announced its continued operations for the time being. Changes, however, were made in the establishments with tightened protocols and enhanced cleaning measures.
With the national cabinet agreeing to restrict gatherings indoors to less than 100 people in addition to the ban on gatherings of over 500 people outdoors, casinos are left with no choice to follow the official mandate, limiting the number of patrons allowed inside their respective facilities.
Crown, in their announcement, noted that all other previously announced coronavirus-related measures such as deactivating every second gaming machine and electronic table game; enforcing distancing at seated table games, along with a ban on standing players; providing customers and staff alcohol-based hand sanitizers and restricting stand-up table games to five players apiece would remain in place. Local rival, The Star Entertainment Group also strengthened disinfecting policies while announcing that it would temporarily close its three casinos for four-hour periods each day to conduct comprehensive cleaning procedures.
SkyCity Entertainment group has also implemented measures and has cancelled a number of large public events at its SkyCity Theatre. Scheduled events in their convention spaces were also being “reviewed with booking partners” and has guaranteed that all of its restaurants would be on regular operations. SkyCity CEO, Graeme Stephens likewise promoted its new online casino that will proceed to be unaffected by the pandemic.
Although open for service during this limiting period, the casino management companies are assuring its clients that it will adhere to government’s advice regarding its operations.
Poker Tournaments Cancelled, Cash Games Running in Some Venues
With numerous festivals already being cancelled, poker rooms across Australia have correspondingly followed suit, putting off the majority of its tournament events until further notice. Crown Perth made known its decision to postpone the 2020 Crown Perth Poker Sapphire Series, originally scheduled to take place from 21-31 May, 2020 and all lead up Satellites indefinitely.
Considering the increasing community concern around Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Australian Poker League has also decided to postpone all APL Major Events for the meantime.
These events include, but are not limited to APLPT, Super Series & Monthly VIP Loyalty Events. Regular nightly events, however, will continue to run with the advice to staff and players to maintain a high standard of hygiene, including regular and thorough hand washing.
Cash games, on the other hand, are still continuously running in some venues such as Crown Perth and Star Poker Sydney.
We've made the decision to cancel all poker tournaments until further notice.
Including Monday Night Turbo, Weekly Weds & Sydney Champs satellites. Cash games are available but will be restricted to 5-handed. We apologise for any inconvenience & thank you for understanding.
— Star Poker Sydney (@StarPokerSydney) March 16, 2020
Both establishments announced on its Facebook page earlier this week that it will be opening its cash game tables, restricted to a maximum of five players per table in practice of social distancing.
The prior also advised that it will be adjusting its rake, ⅓ 10% capped at AU$10 with regards to the situation. As such, the poker venues are optimistic that these measures will avoid the spread of the virus, simultaneously assuring citizens that their priority is the safety and well-being of employees, guests and the entire community.