Nepal’s gaming properties are once again opening following a year-and-a-half shuttering because of coronavirus risk. Various safety requirements will be in place.
“The casinos were allowed to resume operations in line with the decision of the Kathmandu district administration office on Sept. 1 to permit business and social activities by following health safety protocols,” Taranath Adhikari, a spokesperson for Nepal’s Tourism Ministry, told The Kathmandu Post, a local newspaper.
The move comes as Nepal recently eliminated various tourism restrictions to the South Asian nation. On Sept. 23, the seven-day quarantine requirement was lifted.
Government officials recently began issuing visas to vaccinated tourists from foreign nations. Now, tourists should have gotten a final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks before entering the nation. Travelers who only got partial vaccines or got no vaccines will not be given on-arrival visas, the report said.
Instead, entry permits will be given from Nepal’s diplomatic missions. These tourists must spend 10 days in quarantine in government-approved hotels, the report adds.
As of Wednesday, Nepal saw a total of 799,615 COVID-19 cases. In total, the nation saw 11,192 fatalities linked to the virus.
The casinos in Nepal were initially closed in March 2020. Concurrently, tourists from China, Japan, Italy, Iran, and South Korea were no longer given visas to enter the nation.
Casinos Gradually Reopen
Casino companies and other stakeholders were thrilled with news about casino reopenings, the Post said.
“More than half a dozen casinos, including Casino Mahjong housed at the Hotel Soaltee, Casino Pride at the Annapurna Hotel, Casino Pride at the Hyatt Regency, and Deltin Casino at the Kathmandu Marriott Hotel have already thrown open their doors to players,” Surya Bahadur Kunwar, president of the Nepal Independent Hotel, Casino & Restaurant Workers’ Union (Central Committee), was quoted by the Post last week.
“Other casinos are gradually reopening,” he added. Also, because of the closings, more than 15,000 casino workers were furloughed, the Post said.
The hotels paid a minimum wage to their workers despite remaining closed. The casinos did not lay off their employees, but they did not pay them any salaries,” Kunwar revealed.
“We hope the industry will recover, and workers will get their jobs back.”
Prior Casino Fees Waived
In addition, government officials approved waiving a fee that had been owed by casinos for the close of the recent fiscal year, the Post reported.
Also, last month, Nepal officials reported casinos applied to renew permits.
We will start renewing their permits after we get the nod from the Finance Ministry, as per the Financial Act,” Parbat Giri, an official at Nepal’s Department of Tourism, said.
In Goa, one of India’s major travel destinations, gaming venues also were allowed to reopen last month. They were shuttered for several months because of risk from the nation’s second major wave of COVID-19.
Casino capacity in Goa was capped at 50 percent as of September.
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