All casinos in South Korea’s Seoul metropolitan area, including Incheon, are required with effect from 12am on Tuesday (November 24) to suspend operation due to an uptick in Covid-19 cases in that part of the country, according to local media outlets.
The new rule would affect four foreigner-only casino venues in greater Seoul. They are: Gangnam Coex Seoul; and Gangbuk Millennium Seoul Hilton, under Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd; and Paradise Casino Walkerhill Seoul, and Paradise City Casino Incheon (pictured in a file photo), promoted by Paradise Co Ltd.
Grand Korea Leisure said in a Monday filing to the Korea Exchange that its two affected casinos would be shut until 9am on December 8, to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The firm added that – based on average daily net sales for the July to September period – it expected to record a KRW5.1 billion (US$4.59 million) loss due to the closure.
Greater Seoul’s weekly average for new Covid-19 cases from November 15 to 21 had been 175.1, over twice that of the week before. Nationally, the number of daily cases had been over 300 from November 17 to 21.
As a result of the Seoul figure, the country’s Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters decided to tighten so-called social distancing protocols in that region, from what is known in South Korea as “Level 1.5” to “Level 2”.
Level 1.5 social distancing applies if the weekly average is over 100 cases in the metropolitan area, and Level 2, if over 200. The authorities decided however on earlier tightening of restrictions. One reason, reported local media, was in order to ensure safe and timely holding on December 3, of South Korea’s annual College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) for university entry.
On Monday morning, a Paradise City representative confirmed to GGRAsia that the complex was to observe “Level 2”. The person added that the resort had suspended gaming operations from 10am to 6pm on Monday, for what the company termed anti-epidemic sterilisation. As of Monday morning the venue had not received further instructions from corporate headquarters.
Paradise Casino Walkerhill Seoul, Gangnam Coex Seoul, and Gangbuk Millennium Seoul Hilton told GGRAsia no specific instructions had been provided by their respective corporate managements as of Monday morning.
The Level 2 protocol also means suspension in greater Seoul of bicycle-, horse-, and boat-races from Tuesday. In South Korea, locals are allowed to put bets on such events.
Seoul metropolitan area had been at Level 2 from September 14 to October 11; then Level 1 from October 12 to November 18; followed by Level 1.5 from November 19 until now.
As of 12am on Monday, South Korea had 271 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, taking the country’s confirmed tally to 31,004, including 509 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
(Updated, Nov 24, 8.50am)
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