On Monday, Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis notified 265 staff that they would be temporarily laid off as of either the end of January or early February.
“Given the province-wide closure of gaming venues resulting in work restrictions for some of our employees, AGLC has made the difficult decision to temporarily lay off 265 staff associated with gaming operations,” Heather Holmen, AGLC spokesperson, told Global News.
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“AGLC has continually worked to balance both budgetary and operational challenges the pandemic has presented,” she added.
“While we have been able to do this during previous restrictions without layoffs, that is no longer the case.”
The layoffs impact casino employees across the province, but the majority are in the Calgary and Edmonton areas.
“We understand this is a difficult time for these employees and our many stakeholders whose operations have been impacted by COVID-19,” Holmen said. “AGLC operations and support for our partners will remain largely unchanged by these layoffs.”
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Casinos were shut down when Alberta first initiated closures on March 17 at the start of the pandemic.
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They were allowed to reopen June 12 under Phase 2 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy. There were no capacity restrictions but businesses were asked to monitor for physical distancing, space out stations or install physical barriers, supply hand sanitizer for guests, and “regularly clean and disinfect” high-touch surfaces. Table games remained closed. There were no specific rules around cleaning frequency or mandatory mask-wearing.
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On Sept. 3, table games were permitted to open again with mitigating health and safety measures in place.
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Then, on Nov. 24, new rules made masks mandatory in all indoor work places in Edmonton and Calgary and limited capacity at businesses to 25 per cent.
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A few weeks later, the province announced new COVID-19 safety restrictions, ordering casinos and gyms to close and banning dine-in service at restaurants, bars and cafes effective Sunday, Dec. 13.
As of Jan. 10, there were 14,116 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, 794 people in hospital (128 of whom were in intensive care units), and 1,284 total deaths.
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