Holland Casino venues to shut in latest Covid-19 lockdown

| By Conor Mulheir
Netherlands government has announced public buildings will shut their doors in response to rising novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases, forcing Holland Casino’s properties to shut for two weeks.

In addition to measures already in force, including the closure of the all food and drink establishments, all publicly accessible buildings nationwide will be completely closed, with exceptions made for shops and some professions.

This means that all casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, libraries, swimming pools, saunas, zoos and amusement parks will have to shut their doors from 10pm today (4 November) until 18 November.

Holland Casino, the Netherlands’ state-owned casino operator, will close all 14 of its branches tonight as a result. The venues reopened in July, after first closing in mid-March in response to the pandemic. The initial closures were scheduled to last until September but, following criticism from Holland Casino and industry association VAN Kansspelen, the reopening date was brought forward by two months to 1 July.

In August, Dutch municipal health services were given powers to close leisure establishments including casinos if they traced an outbreak of Covid-19 to the location.

A new curfew was then announced in September, ruling that casinos and slot halls in five regions of the nation must be fully closed by 1am each day. The curfew was then extended to additional regions later in September.

In August, Holland Casino announced its turnover had fallen by 58.7%, €146.3m (£131.6m/$171.5m) for the first half of 2020, as gains made in the first months of the year were wiped out by the Covid-19 lockdown.

The latest resurgence in cases of Covid-19 has seen land-based gambling facilities across France, Germany and Italy also forced to temporarily close again after the governments of each country announced new restrictions on businesses.

France announced a new lockdown beginning on 30 October, lasting until 1 December, while Germany entered lockdown on 2 November, for a period lasting at least until the end of the month, with a review scheduled after two weeks. Italy, meanwhile, signed an emergency decree marking the nation’s second national lockdown, lasting from 2 November until 24 November.

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