Bingo Operator Celebrates Provincial Reopening

By Ben Hamill - May 07 2021

Bingo Operator Celebrates Provincial Reopening

It’s taken months but finally, this week, General Manager of Saskatoon’s City Centre Bingo Gordy Ouellette was given the good news he’s been hoping for. Ouellette was delighted to hear that the Saskatchewan government is going to unveil its plans to slowly reopen the province.

Moreover, he never expected to have a target date to be able to open his establishment again, but he was pleasantly surprised with this too. He said that for a while, he and his staff have been hearing that things were changing. However, it all felt very vague, and they had been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel until Tuesday.

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Forced To Make Difficult Decisions

At the end of November, Gordy Ouellette was forced to make the difficult decision to close City Centre and lay off all 45 of his staff members. This came in the wake of the province reducing the crowds inside Bingo halls to no more than 30 people at any given time as a result of the global health crisis.

The General Manager expressed that it was one of the toughest decisions he has ever had to make. Now, however, he feels relieved that he can start getting some people back to work. He is excited to have a finish line to work towards.

Saskatoon province’s reopening roadmap was released on Tuesday. It detailed how event facilities, Bingo halls and libraries are all slated to open under step two, which is scheduled for the third week of June. This will go ahead provided that at least 70% of people aged 30 and over have received their first dose of the vaccination and three weeks have passed since the implementation of the first step. Step one is expected to begin by the end of this month.

City Centre Is Ready

Gordy Ouellette said that many of his staff have already found new jobs and likely will not return for the reopening later this year. However, no matter when and no matter what the rules that City Centre will be required to follow may be, the establishment will be ready. His hope is that everyone has learnt a little bit from the health crisis so that we can resume normal life safely.

When it was open, City Centre averaged around 400 players for an evening session of Bingo. Local charities and organisations, which typically receive $3 million through City Centre Bingos, usually provide the workers for the sessions.

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