Saskatoon Bingo Hall Say They’re Not Spreaders

By Ben Hamill - December 10 2020
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Saskatoon Bingo Hall Say They’re Not Spreaders

Saskatoon Bingo hall City Centre Bingo has lashed out at Saskatchewan health officials over their October 24 warning about the possibility of the venue being a potential super spreader of infections. Despite the venue’s November 3 outbreak, which eventually saw its gaming operations manager and two other staff members testing positive, the venue insists that being labelled a super spreader is unjustified and unfair.

Although gaming operations manager Gordy Ouellette says there’s no way of knowing for certain how the outbreak was triggered, it is unfair to blame the spread of infections on Saskatchewan’s Bingo halls. City Centre Bingo, said Ouellette, has been doing everything in its power to help fight the spread of infections.

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They Did What They Had To

Health and safety protocols rolled out by the venue prior to its temporary closure on Nov. 25 included physical distancing, barriers erected between sales counters and general booths, the encouragement of the use of masks by all visitors and employees, and the regular and enhanced disinfecting of all surfaces – including chairs, tables, countertops, washrooms, the handles of doors, etc.

The facility reportedly also removed at least 250 chairs from the hall and general Bingo area. The remaining chairs were then divided into three groupings consisting of space for groups of six players or fewer. The venue, said Ouellette, went above and beyond what had been required by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), and has the necessary report to prove it.

Government on Nov. 25 announced new temporary restrictions pertaining to casinos, Bingo halls, and all other live entertainment venues in the province. The occupancy limit of a maximum of 30 people has since left most of the province’s Bingo establishments with no other option but to temporarily shutter their doors until Dec. 17.

No Bingo – No Charities

Those hardest hit of all by the closures are the local charity and community groups who rely on Bingo halls for their monthly bread and butter, Ouellette said. Now that the 55 charities and groups no longer have Bingos at their disposal, their fundraising initiatives aren’t able to continue. Ouellette added that at least CA$3 million will have been lost across the local industry because of the latest closures.

The priority right now is to find a way to get by and re-open on Dec. 17, said Ouellette. Failing this, many of the charities supported by the venue will have no source of income whatsoever. In order for City Centre Bingo to open its doors on Dec. 17, Ouellette said the cap on occupancy would have to be raised to at least 140.

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