Scores of restaurants and beauty salons across the country have reopened since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address last week Wednesday, and casinos could soon follow suit.
However, while the opening of casinos was also mentioned during the address, no date has yet been confirmed for the country’s multi-billion-rand industry, which directly employs more than 20,000 people.
Responding to the presidential announcement, Chris du Toit, the CEO of Tsogo Sun Gaming, welcomed the move by saying how delighted they were that the government had considered the comprehensive submissions they made to the department of trade and industry.
“The Covid-19 lockdown has caused devastation of the business as a result of not being able to trade, with an estimated R2 billion in revenue lost and the debt increasing to R12 billion since year-end,” Du Toit said.
Acknowledging the great relief for the group’s 10,000 employees, service providers and various other stakeholders, Du Toit was concerned about how the new restrictive trading conditions would impact the business.
Prior to lockdown, South Africa had a thriving gambling industry that spans from Montecasino in Johannesburg to Sun City in the North West, Suncoast on Durban’s Golden Mile and Grand West in Cape Town.
However, since the advent of the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown, these landmarks have become ghost towns.
Du Toit says Tsogo Sun Gaming is eager to welcome back its guests and had already implemented extensive hygiene and safety protocols prior to the initial lockdown.
“And these [protocols] have been adjusted over the last two months as new information about the spread of the virus has unfolded.
Tsogo Sun Gaming says it will follow all of the government gazetted hygiene and safety protocols, including strict social distancing by switching off a portion of slot machines and appropriate queue control.
This will include medical-grade sanitisers at entrances and in public areas, screening through temperature checks and questionnaires, frequent cleaning and enforcing the use of masks. Staff will also go through rigorous health checks at separate staff entrances.
“It will be a different experience when the casinos reopen – one that requires a new vigilance for the safety of our guests and staff,” said Du Toit.
He reiterated how much Tsogo Sun Gaming were looking forward to providing entertainment to their loyal customers once again.