Gamblers throw the dice as GrandWest Casino opens after over 100 days

30 June 2020 - 19:35 By Philani Nombembe
Gamblers at GrandWest Casino in Cape Town encountered a new normal when doors reopened on Tuesday.
Gamblers at GrandWest Casino in Cape Town encountered a new normal when doors reopened on Tuesday.
Image: Esa Alexander

Cape Town gamblers turned the tables on the lockdown on Tuesday afternoon.

By 3pm, throngs of patrons had made their ways to GrandWest Casino, more than 100 days since the establishment closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. They were enthusiastic when the casino opened its doors at 4pm. But they were met with more stringent regulations than before.

General manager Mervyn Naidoo said they would leave nothing to chance.

“We are very happy ... very excited,” he said.

“Things have changed. We have to comply with the government regulations. Strictly no mask, no entry. You have to fill in a pre-entry questionnaire. You have your temperature taken. Before you walk into the premises you will have hands sanitised.

GrandWest employees were ready to serve customers when the establishment opened its doors on Tuesday.
GrandWest employees were ready to serve customers when the establishment opened its doors on Tuesday.
Image: Esa Alexander

“We have complied with the government regulations. Every alternative machine has been switched off. We have installed glass panels between these machines. We have restricted table players to four and five per table.

“We have also installed glass panels on tables. Wherever you walk, there will be sanitisers on the table. He have got over 120 sanitising stations available on the complex.”

Naidoo said the restaurants at GrandWest will be opened gradually.

“Our restaurants are going to open in a phased approach as we get into the next couple of days. All our restaurants will open,” he said.

“We are very happy to be open. We are happy to welcome our customers back again.”

The Sun International Group, which owns the casino, said in a statement that the following “casino properties" opened on Tuesday:

  • The Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth;
  • Carnival City in Ekurhuleni;
  • GrandWest in Cape Town;
  • Sibaya in Durban; and
  • Time Square in Pretoria.

Casinos opening on Wednesday 1 July are:

  • Flamingo Casino in Kimberley;
  • Golden Valley Casino in Worcester;
  • Meropa Casino in Polokwane; and
  • Windmill Casino in Bloemfontein.

“Every second slot machine has been disabled to ensure appropriate physical distancing between guests on the casino floor,” said Graham Wood, the group’s COO for hospitality.

“As our country slowly reopens, we know that we will need to find a new normal and adapt to new ways of doing things. We ask that our guests be understanding of the strict new health and safety protocols - particularly the wearing of masks and physical distancing.”

Wood said restaurants – including those “belonging to third-party concessionaires” – “will not serve alcohol, in line with current regulations”.

Patrons were waiting outside when GrandWest Casino reopened on Tuesday.
Patrons were waiting outside when GrandWest Casino reopened on Tuesday.
Image: Esa Alexander

“Some may not reopen immediately, or may open only at certain times. Many entertainment facilities at casino properties might also remain closed for now.

“As interprovincial and national borders are still closed, certain Sun International properties will not open for the time being,” he added. These include:

  • Sun City Resort,
  • the Wild Coast Sun Resort,
  • the Boardwalk Hotel in PE,
  • the Maslow Sandton Hotel; and
  • the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town.

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