On January 11, 2021, Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) gave a notification to its 265 employees stating that it was going to lay them off at the end of the month or early February. AGLC is responsible for regulating recreational cannabis, alcoholic beverages, and activities related to gaming.
Gaming Venues Closing
AGLC spokesperson Heather Holmen stated that they decided to do this since many gaming venues in the province have temporarily closed since the province ordered them to reduce the limit or capacity for in-person access.
She added that ever since the coronavirus pandemic started, AGLC was trying its best to balance operational and budgetary challenges that it brought forth. The spokesperson continued saying that they managed to balance things with the COVID-19 restrictions without the need for laying off staff; however, things have changed, and they have no choice.
The Majority of Edmonton and Calgary Casino Employees to Lose Work
The layoffs have affected casino workers throughout Alberta, with the hardest-hit cities being Edmonton and Calgary.
Holmen also said that their agency understands that casino employees in this province and their stakeholders who have been affected by the pandemic are going through stressful times. She added that operations and the support that they always give their regulator’s partners won’t change due to the layoffs.
Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy to Open the Economy
On March 17, 2020, casinos in Alberta ceased operations to control the spread of the coronavirus. Alberta’s relaunch strategy was put in place as a safe recovery plan to reopen the province’s economy. On June 12, the second phase allowed casinos to reopen in the province.
While there were no restrictions on capacity, operators were asked to ensure that they follow the rules to curb the disease. These include keeping a physical distance of 1.5 m, installing physical barriers or spacing stations, making sanitizers available for punters to use, and frequently cleaning and disinfecting the most-touched surfaces.
The province didn’t set any rules about wearing masks or the number of times casinos should clean and disinfect the most-touched surfaces. During this period, table games were not allowed to open. It was until September 3 when Alberts allowed casinos to open table games to their customers. But they didn’t put any rules in place that would ensure the health and safety of employees and players.
However, one of the places where gambling is thriving is OnlineCasinos.net, where Canadian punters can play online with no problems.
New Rules Set in Place to Curb COVID-19
On November 24, new rules were put in place that stated that every indoor workplace in Calgary and Edmonton must ensure that their employees and customers wear a mask. The new rules also reduced the capacity at casinos to 25%.
Alberta later introduced new coronavirus safety restrictions and asked all gyms and casinos to shut down. Additionally, these new rules banned dine-in service in eateries and bars starting from December 13, 2020.
Currently, Alberta has more than 116,000 cases of coronavirus, with over 1,400 deaths. For this reason, there’s no word on when the 265 employees will return to work.
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