Staff members at Sun International’s Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom show their preparedness to open as the government began easing the Covid-19 lockdown that saw casinos around the country shut to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
Staff members at Sun International’s Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom show their preparedness to open as the government began easing the Covid-19 lockdown that saw casinos around the country shut to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

PICS & VIDEO: How casinos are reopening amid the global coronavirus pandemic

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Jul 1, 2020

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Durban - Sun International’s Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom was among the casinos that reopened their doors on Tuesday, after being closed for three months because of the coronavirus lockdown.

This followed the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s announcement last week, of the amendments to the lockdown regulations under level 3.

Listed in the Government Gazette, Dlamini Zuma also stated casinos must strictly adhere to all health protocols and physical distancing measures. They are only allowed to fill a maximum of 50% of their floor space, while patrons must maintain a physical distance of 1.5m from each other. Casinos also have to keep a daily record of each customer, contractor and employee who walks through their doors.

The Daily News visited Sibaya Casino on Tuesday, to observe their health and safety protocols.

From the front door, throughout the gaming floor and beyond, measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of all visitors and staff.

Sun International’s Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom was among the casinos that reopened their doors yesterday, after being closed for three months because of the coronavirus lockdown. Video: Motshwari Mofokeng / African News Agency / ANA


Visitors have to sanitise their hands and have their temperatures checked at the entrance. A few steps in and they are required to fill in a digital register, which also screens them.

Inside the casino, every second slot machine has been disabled, seats have been removed and partitions installed. Seating at every roulette table has been restricted, with additional new partitions.

Blackjack cards are not touched by players and poker cards are changed every hour. The slot machines will be sanitised regularly but not necessarily after each player.

Staff members at Sun International’s Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom show their preparedness to open as the government began easing the Covid-19 lockdown that saw casinos around the country shut to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)


Sibaya has also created its own signage and increased visibility of Covid-19 messaging throughout the casino. It has also changed trading hours. The main floor opens from 10am until 2am, but The Privè, for special guests, is a 24-hour operation.

Entry onto the casino floor is limited to Most Valuable Guest (MVG) cardholders. Its Rockwood Theatre, Sun Lounge, lodge, hotel and Mangwanani Spa are still closed.

All children’s activities are also closed.

Staff members at Sun International’s Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom show their preparedness to open as the government began easing the Covid-19 lockdown that saw casinos around the country shut to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)


Sibaya Casino will start with only two restaurants allowed to trade and the food court will open on Friday.

Sibaya general manager Myan Moodley said it was like they were starting again and it was a new business.

“We don’t know how people are going to react, we don’t know how much money they will have to spend and how much revenue we are going to generate,” said Moodley.

Staff members at Sun International’s Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom show their preparedness to open as the government began easing the Covid-19 lockdown that saw casinos around the country shut to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)


“It’s really a difficult situation for us to assess and we will only know in the next two or three months, where we are going to be in terms of our overall business. This will be affected by the way the next two or three weeks turn out because we are also not sure how the return to business will affect the overall infection rate.”

Moodley said across the group, at least R6.5 million had been spent for these measures.

Staff members at Sun International’s Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom show their preparedness to open as the government began easing the Covid-19 lockdown that saw casinos around the country shut to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)


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