Indoor dining ban leads to layoffs at casino restaurant

Workers at the Barside Lounge in Chances Casino in Brocklehurst have been laid off.

Workers at the Barside Lounge in Chances Casino in Brocklehurst have been laid off and Atlas Steak + Fish in Cascades Casino in Aberdeen remains closed as parent company Gateway Casinos pivots following the provincial government’s decision to ban indoor dining until at least April 19.

The company had been preparing to reopen Atlas on March 30 before the new order on COVID-19 restrictions came into effect the day before.

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Meanwhile, 15 employees have been laid off from the Barside Lounge at Chances Casino, which the company has opted to temporarily close the during the indoor dining prohibition. The restaurant had been open during the pandemic since last summer.

The restaurant is not implementing a takeout or delivery option. Asked why Gateway didn't opt to utilize Chances' parking lot for outdoor dining, Gateway spokesperson Tanya Gabara said that while the option may have been considered, the weather forecast at the time was pointing to inclement conditions and that site isn't as well equipped for patio dining as Cascades Casino, which has heaters, fire tables and overhead coverings.

Match Eatery, inside Cascades Casino, reopened on March 16 and will remain so with takeout, delivery and patio dining as permitted under the health order.

The third restaurant in the Aberdeen casino — The Buffet — remains closed, as does the casino itself.

Casinos themselves have remained shuttered since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Gabara said Match reopened with 20 employees who remain on active duty.

“Our hope is that we can make it through the three-week closure with everyone still on the job,” she said.

While Atlas wasn’t able to reopen as planned on March 30, Gabara said the company is working on revising its plans for a reopening.

“While we are disappointed that these restrictions have been put in place, we are working hard to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable dining experience to our guests,” Gabara told KTW via email.

Moving forward, she said, the company hopes Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will implement closures and restrictions in a way that reflects local public health conditions and metrics — regionally, rather than provincewide — similar to what has been implemented previously in other provinces like Ontario and Quebec.

In the latest weekly count, March 21 to March 27, there were 30 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kamloops local health area, a decrease from 56 cases the week before. The Kamloops area had been recording more than 100 cases per week for much of January and February.

— Editor's note: This story was updated April 5 with additional comments from Gateway Casinos. This story originally stated that Atlas would offer delivery and takeout during the indoor dining ban, but Gateway has clarified that delivery and takeout will be options when the indoor dining prohibition is lifted.




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