WSOP announces vaccination policy for major event
The world’s most popular poker event has announced a new vaccination policy for this year’s series.
Inside Asian Gaming reports that the World Series of Poker has revealed that all players and any other attendees will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 before entry to events.
The policy, in place for the duration of this years’ series at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino from September 30 to November 23, will require participants to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 upon first registration to be eligible to participate in any events.
The rule will also apply to all media, spectators and vendors and includes a requirement to wear a face mask at all times.
Reaction from within the poker community appears to be broadly positive although a handful of players have threatened to boycott the event, citing various anti-vaccination rhetoric.
WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly – it is made with no agenda beyond protecting player eligibility and the operations of a unique televised gaming event.
“The nature of poker is to be in close proximity with your opponents for extended periods of time and a seat at the World Series of Poker is a commitment for both our company and the participants.
“We want players to be excited for their return to the WSOP, while offering the greatest level of protection and limiting complications during the tournament.”
To be considered “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, participants must receive their final vaccine dose 14 days prior to the start date.
Singapore reaches vaccine milestone
While WSOP continues to aim high with its vaccinations, an Asian gambling hub has reached a milestone of its own.
Singapore is preparing to reopen borders and substantially ease local COVID-19 restrictions after becoming the first country in the world to reach 80 per cent full vaccination among its population.
The Ministry of Health issued an update confirming that at least 80 per cent of people had now received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, while 83 per cent received at least one dose.
The milestone is expected to see Singapore move from the current “preparatory stage” of its COVID-19 recovery plan to “Transition Stage A”, with more businesses to reopen, social activities to resume and eased border restrictions to allow the resumption of some travel.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kun said in early August that reaching 80 per cent vaccination was the key step forward for Singapore’s recovery.
“If by then we can continue to keep the number of severe cases and illnesses under control and our healthcare capacity is not overly stretched, we will be able to move to the next phase.
Marina Bay Sands prepares to reopen as Hong Kong travel bubble suspended again
The 80 per cent milestone is good news for Singapore’s tourism operators, with integrated resorts Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Singapore currently operating at limited capacity.
In a statement published on its website, MBS said almost 95 per cent of its staff was fully vaccinated while all customer facing staff are tested at least every 28 days, and in some cases, every three days, depending on their role.
Despite its progress, a planned travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was recently called off.
In mid-August, the two nations agreed to cease discussions over an air travel bubble after it emerged they had different strategies for combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
It had been proposed to launch in November 2020, with one charter flight carrying a maximum of 200 passengers sto depart each day initially, rising to two flights per day from December 7.
The plan was postponed due to rising case numbers in Hong Kong and then again in May as cases rose in Singapore.
“In Singapore, a substantial proportion of our population is fully vaccinated,” the Ministry of Transport said.
“Hong Kong too is progressively vaccinating its population, but both parties agreed it would not be possible to launch or sustain the bubble in its present form.”