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Pubs and TAB venues to reopen in Victoria next week

Mon, Jun 15, 10:23am by Mia Chapman

Victorians will have to wait one more week to be able to get back into PubTabs and TAB agencies following a Victorian Government announcement regarding a further easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Racing.com reports that from Monday, June 22, standalone TAB agencies will open in line with rules on retail businesses, while TABs in pubs will also be permitted to open, but must observe density and patron limits that apply to those venues.

From June 22, pubs and clubs will be able to host up to 50 patrons with no requirement to purchase a meal with your drink.

Pokies players have a little longer to wait with electronic gaming areas at pubs, clubs and the casino to be reopened on July 20 under strict distancing, cleaning and hygiene requirements.

Crown Melbourne reopens its popular restaurants

Crown Melbourne started to open its restaurants doors for the first time in months last weekend.

The Herald Sun reported last week some of Crown’s most famous restaurants, such as Nobu, Gradi and Conservatory were the first venues to open, after the complex resembled a ghost town while locals were in lockdown.

“It has been pretty quiet around here, which is something we’re not used to,” Crown executive general manager of food and beverage Enda Cunningham said.

“People are just happy to be out and about.”

The reopening is not without strict social distancing measures.

Diners must keep their distance from other guests and will have to use hand sanitiser before they step inside one of the restaurants, and the pokies are still on hold.

“We’re taking hygiene and physical distancing very seriously,” Mr Cunningham said.

“But it’s great to see that we’re finally coming back to life.”

SkyCity reports encouraging trends since reopening

New Zealand casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group said business has been “encouraging” since the company reopened its three local casinos following their lengthy COVID-19 closure.

Calvin Ayre reported last week in a trading update released Wednesday, SkyCity said it was encouraged that local gamblers were returning to its Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown properties since their May 14 reopening.

The casinos are operating with new health and safety precautions that dramatically limit attendance and the number of gaming positions that can be occupied at any given time.

The Queenstown property’s Wharf Casino remains closed but domestic activity at Hamilton and the company’s flagship Auckland property has been “very pleasing, particularly in electronic gaming machines”.

Table game activity was said to be “steadily improving from a slow start” likely due to New Zealand’s borders remaining closed to international high rollers.

SkyCity’s hotel occupancy is averaging only 32 per cent, although this ramps up to 90 per cent on weekends.

Food and beverage sales are “growing steadily” but the company expects its non-gaming amenities won’t truly recover until international borders reopen.

SkyCity is also still restricting access to its Kiwi casinos to members of its Premier Rewards loyalty program.

Nonetheless, the company says Auckland and Hamilton are “currently running at levels that are profitable and cash positive”.

Queenstown went unmentioned.

SkyCity was forced to close its three Kiwi properties as well as its casinos in Adelaide in mid-March as governments ordered the closure of all non-essential retail businesses.

SkyCity laid off 200 staff in early April and shed “around 700 more employees” last month as it pondered the possibility that it could take years for business to return to its former levels.

SkyCity chief executive Graeme Stephens said Wednesday that laying off those 700 staff “remains necessary” to ensure the security of “thousands of jobs that will still remain”.

Stephens said he hoped the “initial positive indications” at the reopened properties can be sustained.


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