SkyCity Auckland First Major Casino to Remove COVID-19 Restrictions
The SkyCity Auckland casino in New Zealand is gearing up to be the first major casino in the world to remove COVID-19 restrictions.
The year 2020 has been a wild one. The world has been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, with businesses shutting down in record numbers. Over the past few months, we have seen businesses close and reopen, but only able to operate based on strict health and safety regulations, including mask wearing and social distancing. Casinos have been one of the hardest hit industries, as they provide a social aspect and have been limited to capacity after reopening and trying to deal with the virus. In New Zealand, a first is about to occur, as the SkyCity Auckland plans to remove their strict COVID-19 restrictions. The venue will be the first in the world to do so when it comes to a major integrated resort property.
Back to Normal
On October 8, the SkyCity Auckland venue will return to its normal operations. The casino is able to remove the restrictions due to the government changing the city to Alert Level 1. New Zealand has a COVID-19 Alert System and uses the levels to determine how facilities should operate.
In New Zealand, the country is averaging a low number of positive cases every day over the past month. Because of the decline, the government feels that Auckland, the largest city in the county, is ready to move to the 1st level.
While under Level 2, the casino could only be accessed by the Premier Rewards members. On Thursday, the casino will be available to the general public. On Level 2, it means the virus is contained but is still a risk when it comes to community transmission.
The SkyCity Hamilton and Queenstown venues reopened on September 22 to the general public. These casinos are much smaller, and the Auckland venue will be the first major gaming property to fully remove restrictions.
Once the restrictions are removed, the casino will operate without social distancing requirements. The casino will continue to have entry restrictions on those who come into the country. Anyone crossing the border will be required to complete a health screening and testing plus a 14 day mandatory isolation or quarantine. This is to ensure that anyone not from the country does not bring the virus into the region.
The casino offers a large variety of gambling games, including over 2,000 slots and more than 100 table games within the main gaming floor. There is also a VIP space that is private for high rollers as well as a 20 table baccarat room.
For the IR portion of the property, there are almost 1,000 hotel rooms and suites with more than 20 restaurants and bars. The convention area has 200,000 square feet of space. It is expected that guests will want to take advantage of all the casino has to offer, just as it was before the virus became an issue.
For patrons visiting, the casino will continue to use temperature checks at the entrances. However, these checks will be at random. Anyone who refuses screening will not be allowed inside. Increased cleaning in high touch areas will continue on-site, such as with slot machines and ATMs.
Because New Zealand is an island country, they have been able to limit how the virus has spread based on border restrictions. Thus far, the country has only had just over 1,800 cases and only 25 deaths. This is far less than other countries as the local government has taken swift action to help protect residents. Because of their action, it should be relatively safe for the casino to reopen without restrictions, especially considering anyone who enters the country must still quarantine for two weeks.