After a bad and depressing time for the casinos, we received news that the casinos will be finally opening up. However, they’ve hit another roadblock. After local media carried unconfirmed reports of more than two dozen staffers of a prominent offshore casino testing COVID-19 positive, the issue has blown up in the coastal state’s political parties again.
Panaji Mayor Uday Madkaikar had called a meeting with the casino operators to reiterate the importance of following the statement of procedures (SOP’s) by the government.
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On Saturday, the Mayor admitted that the casinos were not following the SOP’s. He said that, “I have personally seen people crowding outside the casino lobby. There is no social distancing …no wearing of mask…nothing,”
With December just round the corner, Madkaikar’s statements come at a time when the tourist industry in Goa is supposed to be getting back up again. While casinos are not the only commercial setups identified by the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) found wanting in following the set COVID-19 guidelines, this has undoubtedly put the casinos in a tough spot again. This has drawn the attention of political parties like AAP, who are now demanding that the casinos should be shut down to avoid any further COVID-19 spikes.
Reacting to the unconfirmed reports, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has demanded that the casino sector be shut down again! Spokesperson for the party, Surel Tilve, called a press conference yesterday where he wanted the state government to appease the casinos by saying that,
“It is already difficult to control the flow of tourists to Goa’s casinos. It is getting out of control. Covid-19 cases in casinos have also increased. The government is just trying to appease the lobby by allowing this trend to continue.”
He added, “We fear that if the chaos continues, Goa may witness a second Covid-19 wave sooner than later. Goa has a confirmed tally of 46,826 positive cases, while 677 persons have died in the state after testing positive for Covid-19.”
The local government has found a lot of people not following even the basic guidelines of wearing masks and the fact that this is the prime tourist season in the state, more and more people are being seen flocking to the entrances of the casinos. The government and casinos will have to come to a solid solution so that the casinos can still continue to function as well as prevent another COVID-19 spike in the state!