A number of casino employees in Australia are finally going to be back at work. The Star Entertainment Group shut down its properties in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, then began to reopen them in July. However, the maximum number of gamblers allowed in the casinos was severely limited and the Star Sydney and Star Brisbane have been handicapped ever since. It would seem that Australia has been able to stop the spread of the coronavirus, to some degree, lately, which is giving these two casinos a little breathing room. Star Entertainment is ready to receive (pdf) more guests at both venues, which should be welcome news to a lot of employees.
The Star Sydney has been operating at a maximum capacity of 1,800 guests but will be able to increase this to around 10,000, “based on the square metreage of the property,” starting next Monday. That comes as the New South Wales (NSW) government has backed off a restriction that limited casinos to just one patron for every four square meters (43 square feet) of gaming space. Starting next Monday, one patron will be allowed for every two square meters (21.5 square feet).
To the north of NSW, Queensland has relaxed its COVID-19 policies, as well, which will give Star Entertainment the ability to open the capacity for The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane. The government made changes in the middle of last month and these properties will see the same two-meter restriction as their counterpart in NSW, but the venues’ slot machines and gambling tables are now going to be completely back in business. All machines will be turned back on and tables will be allowed to seat up to seven players, an increase from the previous four. In addition, alcohol will also make its way back to the gaming areas.
In light of the easing of restrictions, Star Entertainment is already making phone calls to its furloughed workers to welcome them back to their old jobs. It isn’t clear how many employees the properties will bring back, but, with the Star Sydney going from 1,800 to 10,000 patrons, the venue will need substantial help. The operator added in its statement, “The easing in operating restrictions across all three properties will enable us to welcome back additional employees as well as an increased number of our members and guests to safe and entertaining environments.”