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Australia – Australian casinos introduce ‘social distancing’ rather than close gaming floors

By - 17 March 2020

Rather than close their casinos, Australian casino operators Crown Resorts and The Star Entertainment have introduced a minimum distance between casino customers and reduced gaming capacity by turning off every other slot machine.

A minimum distance of 1.5 metres has been introduced between players including at seated table games.

The operator said: “Following consultation with the Victorian Government, Crown has implemented a policy covering a number of social distancing measures at its Crown Melbourne entertainment complex. With effect from today, in response to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, measures including the following will be implemented at Crown Melbourne, deactivation of every second gaming machine and electronic table game, distancing at seated table games between players, including no standing players, restricting the number of players at each stand-up table game to five players and restricting the number of patrons in individual food & beverage, banqueting and conference facilities to 450 persons with a prescribed maximum density. The social distancing policy for Crown Melbourne has been approved by the Victorian Chief Health Officer. Crown has also implemented other precautionary measures across its Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth entertainment complexes, including the provision of alcohol-based hand sanitiser and more frequent and strengthened cleaning measures. Crown will continue to closely monitor the pandemic and follow guidelines from relevant health authorities.”

The Star was also ‘increasing distancing’ at seated table games and has deactivated every second gaming machine and electronic table game, to ‘create additional distance’ between customers.

Star Entertainment said: “The safety and wellbeing of our guests and team members remains of highest importance to The Star. We will continue to monitor development with Covid-19 and follow recommendations we receive from relevant health authorities.”

Philip Russo, President of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control, said: “Really this is a minimum. It will likely slow down spread, but more stringent social distancing would have a greater effect.

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