All B.C. casinos to close to limit spread of coronavirus

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Canada's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam said on Sunday that her provincial counterparts are considering possible actions like postponing or cancelling large mass gatherings and closures of businesses, like bars. When asked whether Canada should close the border, Tam said people must self-isolate when they return from outside the country but are advised not to leave Canada on any non-essential travel. She added self-isolation is not mandatory but a current voluntary process.

All casinos, community gaming centres and bingo halls in British Columbia will close, the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) confirmed Monday.

According to a BCLC statement, facilities will close by 11:59 p.m. Monday and will re-open when BCLC “receives government direction that it is safe and appropriate to do.”

On Sunday, Great Canadian Gaming announced plans to shutter all 10 of its B.C. casinos to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The company said the “temporary” closures would go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, and were in conjunction with the BCLC, which is the governing body for all gaming in the province.

“While there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported at Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, this measure has been deemed to be in the best interests of the public’s health and the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19,” the company said in a statement.

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Great Canadian owns 10 casinos in B.C., including the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, and Elements Casinos in Surrey, Chilliwack and Victoria.

The Hastings Racecourse and Casino in Vancouver and Chances in both Maple Ridge and Dawson Creek are also affected.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: OLG closing all casinos across Ontario as precautionary measure

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Prior to the announcement of the closure of all casinos, BCLC said it had made operational changes along with casino operators to promote social distancing, following public health guidelines.

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Those measures included increasing space between slot machines and seats at table games.

Additional hand sanitizing stations and cleaning measures were also introduced, BCLC said. Signage had also been put up to inform players and staff of the new measures.

9 new coronavirus cases announced in B.C. bringing total number of confirmed cases to 73
9 new coronavirus cases announced in B.C. bringing total number of confirmed cases to 73

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation ordered all casinos in the province to shut down Sunday.