Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd (GKL), an operator in South Korea of foreigner-only casinos, reopened its Seven Luck-branded Gangnam COEX (pictured), and Gangbuk Hilton gaming venue in Seoul at 9am of Monday, according to an online corporate announcement.
The reopenings came shortly after the country’s Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters’ announcement on March 12, that it would continue maintaining “Level 2” of social-distancing measures until midnight on March 28. But the body added it would allow as an “exceptional measure”, what it termed “public” casinos to reopen on the condition they operated at only 20 percent of normal capacity.
The announcement explained that the measure was to put the public-sector casinos on equal footing with operations of “private” casinos, where decisions on whether or not to close on Covid-19 safety grounds were discretionary.
Grand Korea Leisure is a subsidiary of the Korea Tourism Organization, which in turn is affiliated to South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Grand Korea Leisure also controls the Busan Lotte casino venue in the southern port city of Busan, which resumed its operations on February 15.
Both Seoul properties had been shuttered since November 24, after the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters’ decision to tighten social-distancing protocols in the Seoul metropolitan area to Level 2. Those closures had contributed to the group’s 2020 loss amid the pandemic.
Telephone enquiries by GGRAsia on Tuesday to the two Seoul venues indicated that Gangnam COEX was limiting its daily number of guests to 185, compared to its daily 925 capacity. Gangbuk Hilton was limiting its daily guest tally to 148 versus a daily capacity of 740.
As of 12am on Wednesday, South Korea had 469 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, taking the country’s confirmed tally to 96,849, including 1,686 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
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