On three consecutive days earlier this month, now-confirmed Covid-19 patients made visits to the casino at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, while still infectious.
The news was given on Thursday by Singapore’s Ministry of Health, after it had earlier said there had been two visits to the Marina Bay Sands casino at the start of the month by persons still infectious with Covid-19.
The ministry gave both pieces of information as part of its contact-tracing efforts to stem further community transmission.
The two casinos reopened on July 1, to some membership scheme customers customers and people who pay an annual levy for access. Such levy payers are either Singapore citizens or permanent residents.
Both gaming resorts had been closed since April 7 as part of countermeasures by the city-state against Covid-19.
GGRAsia approached Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority seeking comment on whether it was likely to make any recommendations for adjustment to the current casino access rules in the light of the visits by Covid-19 carriers.
GGRAsia received a reply from the city-state’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, outlining current safety requirements.
It said before casinos had been allowed to reopen, the venues had had to demonstrate their ability to implement effectively the “necessary safe management measures”.
These included: “Density requirements; separation requirements; dispersing crowds and preventing bunching; having an effective infection control and response plan, including good contact tracing capabilities; and implementing rigorous cleaning and disinfecting regimes, particularly for high-touch elements”.
At Resorts World Sentosa, promoted by Genting Singapore Ltd, there was a visit from a person or persons subsequently found to be carrying Covid-19, on July 4 between 11.30am and 1.30pm; a visit on July 5, from 12.35am to 2.30am; and on July 6 from 10.30pm until midnight.
At Marina Bay Sands casino, promoted by a unit of United States-based casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp, those with the infection were at that location on July 2 between 9.35pm and 10.25pm, and again on July 5 between 10.05pm and 12.50am.
The Singapore authorities didn’t clarify how many people were involved at both locations.
Genting Singapore said in a release at the time its casino was about to reopen, that the venue had been “working with medical experts to introduce new safety features”.
These included: “rigorous measures” to provide “as much fresh air circulation as possible to maintain optimal air quality”. It said such steps exceeded “commercial facilities’ standards”. Other measures include: mandatory face masks, limiting the number of players per gaming table, and antimicrobial-coated acrylic “safety shields” installed at all gaming tables and gaming machines for protection of guests and dealers.
Genting Singapore added that it would increase the “frequency of cleaning and disinfection of all common areas and high touch points,” and would “not accept bets by standing patrons”.
At Marina Bay Sands “there will be limitations on the number of patrons at each gaming table, while seats at the electronic gaming machines and slots will be at least 1 metre [3.3 feet] apart,” added that resort.
Marina Bay Sands subsequently told GGRAsia in a July 8 email, in response to our enquiry on whether Singapore’s casinos had been asked to operate at 25 percent capacity when they reopened, that as of that date: “In the casino, capacity has been reduced to ensure the total number of people at any time does not exceed the operating capacity limit of one person per 10 square metres of gross floor area.”
As of Thursday (July 16) at 12pm, the Ministry of Health had confirmed an additional 248 cases of Covid-19 infection in the city-state.
Most – amounting to 233 – were among migrant workers in dormitory accommodation. But there were also four “imported” cases, including three Singaporeans or permanent residents; and 11 “community” cases, including two Singaporeans.
(Updated 9.24am, July 20)
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