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Colombian casinos closed amid strict lockdown measures

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Colombia’s government has introduced several strict lockdown measures in regions across the nation, in response to an increasing number of cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
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The restrictions mean that Colombia’s land-based gaming industry will remain closed throughout the country.

Casinos and gaming halls across the country remained closed for a large portion of 2020 after shutting their doors in March, and were subsequently permitted to reopen subject to approval from local authorities.

Medellín was the first city in the nation to reopen its casinos in September, after downgrading its alert level from orange to yellow due to a low infection fatality rate and a lower number of deaths per capita than other municipalities.

Local authorities were given the power to authorise openings provided that they complied with Colombia’s Ministry of Health’s safety protocols, including the use of physical barriers between gaming machines, a ban on the sale of food and alcoholic drinks and regular disinfection of machines.

The government started to reintroduce lockdown measures on 31 December, including a ban on alcohol sales and restrictions on gatherings in public spaces in the nation’s capital, Bogotá.

From 5 January to 17 January, a total restriction of all activities was introduced between the hours of 8:00PM and 5:00AM in the city, alcohol sales were prohibited at weekends and only a single person from each household was permitted to leave the home to purchase necessities.

Bogotá and other regions are expected to remain under lockdown measures until at least 28 January, with only a strictly limited set of activities permitted.

Some regions, such as Santa Marta, expect curfew restrictions to remain in place until at least 1 March.

In some areas, permitted activities are dependent upon the last digit of each citizen’s ID card number. In order to segregate the population, only those whose number ends in a particular digit may leave the house to perform tasks on a certain day of the week.

For example, between 8 and 16 January, inhabitants of the Santander region could only leave the house on Monday if their ID card number ended in a 5 or a 6, with other members of the population permitted to do so on other days of the week.

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