Goa announces restrictions on Casinos amid increasing Covid cases

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Amid a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Goa, the government on Wednesday issued an order restricting casinos to operate only to 50 percent capacity with entry restricted to people who are fully vaccinated or those carrying a negative RTPCR test report. Similar curbs and conditions at some other establishments, including cinema halls and entertainment parks. Only people who are fully vaccinated and possess a certificate of both doses with 15 days gap since the administration of the second dose will be allowed to enter casinos, an order from by State Revenue Secretary said.

The casino industry has seen a complete washout of two quarters this year. Casinos that closed in March-April 2021 in the backdrop of the second wave, reopened in September. Goa has seen a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases over the last couple of days with 170 cases being reported on 29 December. A seven-time increase from 26 December when the state reported 25 cases.

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The State Revenue Secretary Sanjay Kumar in the order stated that casinos, cinema halls, auditoriums, community halls, river cruises, water parks, and entertainment parks cannot operate beyond 50 percent of the seating capacity. If not a vaccination certificate, people should furnish a negative RTPCR test report not older than 24 hours from the time of entry, the order read.

The order further directed spas, massage parlors, restaurants, pubs, bar halls, auditoriums, gyms, marriage venues, cinema halls, river cruises, water parks, and entertainment parks, among others, to adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols, including the use of masks, hand sanitizers and thermal screening.

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The state government has made owners, managers, licensees, and organizers responsible for the enforcement of the guidelines, including making necessary arrangements for the verification of vaccination certificates and test reports. The order further states that schools may reopen “subject to the separate SOPs to be issued on behalf of the Education Department”. Incidentally, the text of today’s order is similar to an order dated 19 September that permitted the reopening of Casinos.