The management of the Okada Manila casino resort (pictured) in the Philippine capital has confirmed in a statement emailed to GGRAsia that only three players at most will be allowed at its gaming tables once the venue is allowed to restart gaming operations. In addition, “floor layouts will be reconfigured for optimal physical distancing,” it said.
In a mid-March statement, the resort had mentioned a “no-standing and four players only” rule at all gaming tables would be imposed upon restart of casino business. As of March 31, Okada Manila had 248 mass-market tables and 177 VIP tables according to a first-quarter results filing.
Regarding the latest safety guidance, the resort management stated: “Queuing marks and display signs will also be placed in public areas to guarantee these measures are followed.”
“We will do our best to keep the premises virus-free while providing five-star experiences we have come to be known for,” said the resort’s president and co- vice chairman Takashi Oya in prepared remarks in the update.
Okada Manila, controlled by Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp, is planning other measures that are now becoming standard in the industry in a world with Covid-19 as a public health threat.
They include: Covid-19 testing for returning staff members; body-temperature checks on patrons and staff entering the resort; and guests and staff dealing with customers being required to wear face masks. Any guest or staff member found to have a body temperature over 37.5C will be taken to an isolation area for medical assistance. The resort would also have “round-the-clock” sanitation and disinfection of hotel rooms and high-traffic areas.
Precautions mentioned particularly by Okada Manila include that staff members dealing with clients will also be required to wear a face shield and “other equipment whenever necessary” in addition to a face mask. Okada Manila also says also that parcels and luggage will be “sanitised” at all entrances to the property.
Okada Manila’s operations had been suspended from March 20 “in accordance” with “enhanced community quarantine guidelines” issued by the national government. The term has been used in the Philippines to apply to a high-level lockdown that had been applied to Metro Manila and some other areas of the nation.
It emerged last week that Mr Oya had told staff in a memo that the lack of revenues during the mandatory pause of casino and hotel operations in Manila had meant “severe losses to the company”. As a result it has been looking to cut more than 1,000 employees from its payroll, a source confirmed to GGRAsia.
Local media reports on Monday said that the anti- Covid-19 lockdown in Metro Manila was being eased somewhat for the second time in fewer than three weeks. There is now in place in the capital a “general community quarantine,” although there was no information as of Thursday morning regarding when Manila’s casino resorts in the Entertainment City casino zone might be allowed to reopen.
Reopening of Manila casinos “could be on the horizon,” possibly around June 15, suggested a Friday memo to investors from Union Gaming Securities LLC.
Last week a senior executive at City of Dreams Manila confirmed to GGRAsia that it, like market rival Solaire Resort and Casino, would eventually restart with reduced gaming operations for health and safety reasons once the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted.
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”Despite the re-opening of the integrated resort [Okada Manila], we believe there are significant risks to the segment’s recovery in view of travel restrictions, potential new outbreaks and further lockdowns that could weigh on earnings and cash flows”