Star to welcome guests back to casino in NSW

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
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Star Entertainment Group has revealed it will increase capacity, including welcoming a small number of invited casino guests, as part of eased restrictions in New South Wales, which began on Monday.

Asgam reports that while the main gaming floor remains closed to the public, Star said in a weekend announcement it was able to extend invitations to a select number of loyalty members to access the casino zone, which will be by booking only.

The capacity of selected food and beverage outlets, including fine dining restaurants, will also increase from 10 people to 50 people, pending the ability of each venue to maintain social distancing requirements.

Additional visitation will be permitted across other areas of The Star complex, including The Darling and The Star Grand hotels, already opened fine dining restaurants Sokyo and Black, other food venues and luxury shopping outlets.

Star said it has lodged a COVID Safe Operating Plan to the state government, which has been endorsed by two of Australia’s leading public health and infectious disease experts.

The expansion of services will see around 1000 staff back at work from Monday, with Star having previously stood down 95 per cent of its 9000 strong workforce in New South Wales and Queensland.

“We want to thank the New South Wales government for their support,” Star Group chief executive Matt Bekier said.

“The business and human impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been extraordinary.

“We have attempted to ease financial stress for our people through paid pandemic leave, a targeted hardship program for the most seriously affected, early access to annual leave and long service leave, plus JobKeeper payments.

“However, having people back to work is the biggest step we can take. It will be a gradual process. From Monday, we will have the opportunity to return more team members to their jobs.

“It will still leave us operating at significantly lower than usual levels and operations will not be materially profitable at this stage. However, the primary objective is returning our team members to work and re-engaging with guests.”

Star said daily visitation in recent years has averaged around 30,000 people (around 11 million per year).

“The tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors have been decimated over the past couple of months,” Mr Bekier said.

“The sooner we can all return to previous levels of operation, the better.”

“However, it must also be in a responsible manner, and our plans are aligned with precautions the New South government wants in place as restrictions are gradually unwound.

“We will work diligently to ensure all health and social distancing regulations are promoted and enforced.

“That will hopefully accelerate the process to further expansion of operations for our properties in New South Wales and Queensland.”

Star stands down 90 per cent of its staff

The Star Entertainment Group has been forced to stand down 90 per cent of its 9,000 strong workforce at its casinos on the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney.

My GC reports that coronavirus is to blame for the stand down, with casinos, bars and restaurants shut.

The company’s hotels remain open, but in a reduced capacity.

In a statement to the ASX on Thursday, Star said the shutdown of casinos will have a “material impact on The Star’s operations.”

“Management is focused on implementing strategies to minimise impacts and conserve liquidity.

“These include materially lowering operating costs and reducing capital expenditure.

“The Star has taken a very difficult, but necessary decision in relation to its workforce.

“We are in the process of temporarily standing down more than 90 per cent of our approximately 9,000 employees. These stand downs include senior management.”

Employees who are stood down will be given two weeks of paid pandemic leave.

Staff will also be able to access any annual or long service leave they have accrued.

The Board and senior management will have their directors’ fees and salaries slashed with details of those arrangements to be finalised in coming days.

“The Star will continue to monitor developments in the coronavirus situation and the impacts on The Star’s business.

“At this time, we are unable to reliably advise of the impacts on financial performance due to the uncertain duration of the current circumstances.”

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