Casinos across B.C. could be open as soon as Canada Day, the B.C. Lottery Corporation said Wednesday.
“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.”
Things will be a bit different when they do open.
There will be at least two metres of space between table games, slot machines and other gambling equipment.
Physical barriers, such as plexi-glass, will be in place where physical distancing is not possible or where casino employees, such as dealers or cash-cage staff, must interact with players.
Occupancy will be reduced to as many players as there are active seats available on the gaming floor, in combination with occupancy for amenities such as restaurants and lounges.
Table games will be restricted to those in which cards can be dealt face up; players will not be permitted to touch cards which the exception of Squeeze Baccarat, which utilizes one-time use cards.
BCLC also said casino staff will go through detailed training about enhanced health and safety protocols, and will continue to monitor capacity and other facility standards, including air quality.
A BCLC spokesperson confirmed that bingo will also resume with measures to ensure physical distancing in place.
Reached Wednesday, Treasure Cove's Matt Major said he was not prepared to comment on the news, saying he will be getting more details later this week. Casinos and bingo halls have been closed since March 2020 when the pandemic took hold.
The reopening would coincide with stage three of the province's reopening plan, which remains contingent on 70 per cent of B.C.'s adult population getting their first vaccination against the virus by that time.