Casino Canberra Halts Operations as COVID-19 Strengthens Grip in Australia

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Australia seemed to be managing the COVID-19 pandemic well last year, with the number of reported cases much lower than what was being seen in the rest of the world. However, there has been a spike in the number of people catching the virus over the past several months that has health officials worried. It also has casino operators worried after they saw what damage COVID-19 did to casinos across the globe. Casino Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is one of these and has closed its doors as of yesterday, responding to temporary lockdown measures implemented by the state.

Casino Canberra Takes a Forced Break

Casino Canberra, operated by Aquis Entertainment, shut down yesterday in accordance with the ACT government and new health guidance. Fortunately, for now, the state has only implemented a seven-day lockdown, which won’t have the same impact as the months-long shutdowns seen elsewhere over the past year. However, ACT, and other Australian states, are on high alert as the number of cases of coronavirus infection rises. ACT has seen four this week and, while the number is small, it reportedly hasn’t had any local outbreaks in more than a year.

The casino is the third in Australia to close recently because of COVID-19. The Delta variant of the coronavirus is proving to be more problematic than its predecessor and the latest data shows that the seven-day average of new cases in the country is 300. The ACT lockdown will impact the local economy, and Casino Canberra employees “have been stood down immediately” in response. Only if there isn’t an increase in the number of positive cases will the lockdown be lifted.

Casino Operators Across Australia Face Issues

Aquis isn’t the only casino operator to be concerned about the outbreak. Star Entertainment Group recently put its three properties – The Star Sydney, the Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane – on a temporary break as COVID-19 continues to creep around Australia. New South Wales (NSW), where Star Sydney is located, has been deploying military personnel to ensure residents comply with lockdown rules and that property remains closed. Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane, both located in Queensland, have reopened.

Crown Resorts, which is already reeling from a number of legal and regulatory problems, was forced to shut down the operations at its Crown Melbourne casino in Victoria on August 5. Initially, the closure was to be only for one week; however, the state extended its lockdown until August 19, when the number of new COVID-19 cases continued to increase.

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