Alberta casinos, along with other businesses, must shut down this week because of an increase in COVID-19 infection rates. The province has seen a significant increase in positive case counts, which was the catalyst for the new government mandate. New restrictions also include province-wide mask-wearing.
The Alberta Government announced the new mandates via Twitter:
Expanded health measures will be in effect province-wide. All Albertans, businesses, organizations and service providers must follow all new health measures. Restrictions will be in place for a minimum of four weeks.
— Alberta Government (@YourAlberta) December 8, 2020
The closures and additional restrictions will be in place for four weeks minimum and affect casinos, dine in restaurants, gyms, and outdoor social gatherings. Premier Jason Kenney announced that the mask mandate and social gatherings rules are effective immediately. The business closures will start at 12:01am this coming Sunday.
Century Casinos closing Alberta facilities
On Wednesday, Century Casinos announced its Canadian locations would shut down, along with its racetrack venues. The properties will close at 11:59pm this Saturday. In a statement, the company pointed out that the government will reassess the mandate in four weeks.
COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly”
“The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly, and it currently appears that due to the pandemic’s current scope, it will adversely impact the Company at least through the first half of 2021,” Century warned.
Century operates two casinos and two racetracks in Canada, all in Alberta.
The new restrictions begin as the province reported over 1,700 new, confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. So far, Alberta has seen over 20,300 people infected by the virus. This is the highest total in Canada for a single province.
In October, several casinos in Canada closed, hoping to slow the spread of the coronavirus. At the time, the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation and Loto-Québec announced the suspension of gaming activities at land-based facilities.
New Brunswick and Ontario governments also issued closure orders for casinos, bingo halls, and other gambling providers because of increased positive COVID-19 cases. The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation closed Casino New Brunswick and Casino Woodbine. Loto-Québec shut down services in Centre-du-Québec, Charlevoix, and Montérégie.
This round of closures was the second to take place in Canada after the first round in March. After the initial closure, casinos reopened in July. The shutdown period affected the revenue streams of all the gaming operators in the country.
The new shutdown will also harm the gaming industry, as zero revenue will come in from the land-based sector for at least one month.