Casinos in British Columbia, Canada, will reopen on Thursday morning after being shuttered due to the COVID-19 epidemic since March 2020.
Early Wednesday morning, Great Canadian Gambling Corp. released a press statement stating that its nine gaming facilities in the country’s far western province will reopen the next day. Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, one of its locations, is set to open at 7 a.m. PT.
Only one of the company’s 26 casino sites was operational only a few weeks ago. Nearly half of them will be by Thursday.
The decision to allow casinos to reopen on Thursday had been expected for weeks. British Columbia had set July 1 as the commencement date for Step 3 of BC’s Restart, the province’s COVID reopening plan.
As a result of reaching this milestone, at least 70% of the province’s population has gotten at least one dosage, and the province’s case count and hospitalization rate are both decreasing.
Resuming operations, according to Great Canadian Interim CEO Terrance Doyle, is an “exciting development” for the firm.
Casinos, as well as restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, will operate at a restricted capacity under the BC reopening plan. For casinos, this means that gaming stations may run at about 50% capacity.
As a result, the number of available slots, as well as the number of seats at table games, will be reduced. Food and beverage service at Great Canadian’s locations will be limited, according to the company.
With BC casinos set to open shortly, Ontario is home to the rest of Great Canada’s casinos that are still shuttered. It will take at least three weeks for gambling venues to reopen in the area.
On Wednesday, Canada’s most populous province began Step 2 of its reopening plan. When Ontario enters Step 3, casinos will be able to reopen with limitations.
Unlike the United States, which had enough of vaccinations early in the year and was able to vaccinate more people in the spring, Canadian officials were unable to get the same vaccines since the country imports the majority of its medications from its southern neighbor. As a result, while casinos in the United States were claiming record-breaking results, almost all casinos in Canada were ordered to close or remain closed.