Hundreds of people lined outside of Casino Regina on Sunday morning. Residents of Saskatoon were finally allowed to visit casinos and bingo halls, and many of them were looking forward to getting back to normal. The province has officially entered the second phase of its reopening plan, which sees many of the restrictions associated with the global health crisis eased as of June 20.
The easing of restrictions means that recreational facilities such as libraries and casinos can now accommodate up to 150 people. Within 45 minutes of opening, Casino Regina’s capacity had been achieved, according to staff.
Strict Health And Safety Measures In Place
Only strict health and safety measures will allow recreational facilities to reopen. According to Shana Schulhauser, a spokesman for the Saskatoon Gaming Commission, all employees will assist in enforcing safety measures. Their responsibilities will include limiting the amount of people who can play games, screening customers for any symptoms, and ensuring that customers follow social distancing rules.
Gordy Ouellete, the General Manager of Saskatoon’s City Centre Bingo, has stated that all of his employees will strictly comply with the rules. He said he had no choice but to lay off his whole staff of nearly 30 people at one time during the closure. His Bingo hall suffered a significant financial loss, which he estimates will take several years to recover from it.
While the lockdown has cost them and everyone else in the industry a lot of money, both Ouelette and Schulhauser indicated that employees are looking forward to getting back to work after such a long break.
The Reopening Strategy
The reopening approach in Saskatoon was put in place long before the dreaded Delta variant spread across Canada. While some businesses were forced to close, the province saw a number of layoffs. A total of 570 full-time employees were laid off by Casino Regina. The casino’s management was able to recall 243 employees during the second phase of the reopening. When the third phase of the reopening strategy officially begins, the remaining 327 employees will return.
The casino has been closed for the past six months and for a total of ten months. The total losses incurred during the closure are estimated to be around $100 million. Business owners can breathe a sigh of relief now that things are starting to reopen and they are starting to take in money again.