Sask. casinos, bingo halls set to reopen Thursday

As COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift in Saskatchewan, casinos and bingo halls are next up in the reopening on July 9.

Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw will both be reopening Thursday for the first time since March 16 with precautions in place per the Reopen Saskatchewan plan.

Some of those precautions include spacing out which slot machines are open, no live table games and screening at the door.

“Guests are also welcome to wear masks and they can also wear gloves in the casino if they so choose,” said Shanna Schulhauser with the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation.

Both casinos will also be operating with reduced hours from 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily at Casino Regina and 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. at Casino Moose Jaw to allow for increased cleaning along with sanitization efforts happening during hours.

“Cleaning front of house we will be increasing it to every two hours,” Schulhauser said. “We're going to be sanitizing, cleaning all those high touch surfaces so slot machines, railings, buttons on elevators, the slot machines as well guests are welcome to ask for on demand cleaning so they just have to grab one of our staff members.”

Capacity limits of 250 and 50 people at any one time will also be applied to Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw, respectively.

“I know employees are excited to get back to work, our guests are excited to get back in here and get gaming again so it’ll be really nice to see the casino floors bustling again,” said Schulhauser.

Sask Bingo locations are also set to reopen on Thursday with limitations like entrances to the bingo halls being limited to the main doors, a requirement to use hand sanitizer before entering and a strong recommendation that everyone bring a mask to wear while visiting, although they are not required.

Customers will be pre-screened once inside to ask a number of COVID-19 related questions and having their temperature taken by a non-contact thermometre, according to a post from the Facebook page for Sask Bingo’s animated mascot, Jackie Potts.

“We have significantly reduced the available seating in the halls to comply with Provincial health guidelines and coupled with the entry requirements, we suggest that you may want to arrive at the Bingo Hall a little early to allow more time for the new processes,” the post reads.

SIGA-run casinos will also reopen Thursday with markers placed outside and inside the casinos to encourage physical distancing, screening and sanitizing at the door and and a host of other precautions including now-common sights like plexiglass barriers, wipes and sanitizer available for patrons, and frequent cleaning.

Slot machines will be sanitized every hour and upon request with frequent cleaning for other “high touch” areas.

SIGA casinos will have a mask requirement in place for staff and guests according to a press release from the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

“Our communities have felt the effects of the COVID-19 closures and restrictions to business but with the hard work of many behind the scenes, our casinos will once again reopen their doors to the public on July 9,” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron stated. “The staff and management of SIGA have been working tirelessly to ensure that all health and safety measures will be in place and strictly followed once the doors reopen.”

After casinos and bingo halls, the next piece of reopening will include racetracks, rodeos and live entertainment for bars and restaurants on July 16.