B.C. casinos are preparing to open for business for the first time since shutting their doors in March 2020.
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) said facilities could open as early as July 1 with reduced occupancy, physical barriers such as plexiglass and two metres of space between table games, slot machines and other equipment to support physical distancing. Players will not be permitted to touch cards, with the exception of Squeeze Baccarat, which uses one-time use cards, according to BCLC.
“We’re excited to be one step closer towards reopening the casino industry and to be included in step three of B.C.’s restart plan to safely bring people back together,” said Lynda Cavanaugh, BCLC’s interim president and CEO. “Casinos offer great and safe entertainment and socialization, while also generating revenue for provincial initiatives, community programs and First Nations.”
Specific reopening details for casinos are being developed through consultation between representatives from BCLC and its service providers, ministry staff, public-health officials and WorkSafe BC, according to BCLC.
Casino staff will be required to complete detailed training about enhanced health and safety protocols and will monitor capacity and air quality.
“The design of ventilation systems for casinos and community gaming centres is highly specialized and systems meet or exceed all air-quality standards. Air changes occur frequently per hour,” reads a media release from BCLC.
BCLC manages lottery, casino, bingo and online gambling on behalf of the province. Private-sector casino service providers operate gambling facilities under contract with BCLC and employ approximately 10,000 British Columbians.