Sun City to reopen in September
This comes after South Africa relaxed Covid-19 restrictions to allow for inter-provincial leisure travel under alert Level 2, which came into effect on Tuesday.
The gaming and leisure group confirmed on its website that Sun City will reopen in two weeks’ time. The resort, which employs around 3 300 people, has effectively been closed since just before the initial ‘hard’ Covid-19 lockdown came into effect in late March.
Sun International group COO for hospitality Graham Wood welcomed the move to Level 2, which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday. Considering that “the large majority of Sun City’s visitors are from outside North West” province, Wood is especially pleased that inter-provincial travel is now allowed.
“To say we are delighted by this news would be an understatement. With inter-provincial travel restrictions lifted our tourist hotels and resorts such as Sun City Resort will finally be able to reopen.
“It is unfortunate that the [10pm] curfew could not be further relaxed, but we are grateful and relieved that our restaurants can again serve alcohol,” he added.
“[The lifting of] the onerous ban on alcohol will boost footfall to our properties.”
Sun City was the only casino resort within Sun International’s 12 gaming properties in South Africa that has not been trading since casinos were permitted to operate under Level 3 from July.
Moneyweb reported earlier this month that Sun International is also yet to reopen its standalone hotel properties, which include the landmark Table Bay Hotel at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and the Maslow Hotel in Sandton.
More reopenings on the cards
The group decided not to reopen these hotels or the expansive Sun City resort as it “did not making financial sense” due to the ban on inter-provincial and international travel under Level 3. With the former now allowed, the group is considering reopening these hotels as well, even though international tourism is still banned.
“Most of our casinos have been operating since 1 July and customers have been very supportive, but the curfew has hurt our business by reducing operating hours at a time when numbers on the floor already had to be limited, so we are hopeful that this can be relaxed or lifted soon,” Wood said.
“Our current health and safety protocols will remain in place, and all Sun International properties now bear the World Travel and Tourism Council’s safe stamp of approval, verifying that the Covid-19 health and safety protocols we have in place meet international benchmarks,” he added.
South African regulations under both Level 3 and Level 2 stipulate that casinos can only operate at 50% capacity due to social distancing and other Covid-19 health protocols.
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