Elements Casino is now open.
The casino reopened July 1 after being closed for nearly a year and a half.
“The reopening went as smooth as we could have expected after being closed for so long,” said Chuck Keeling, spokesman for Great Canadian Gaming Corp (GCGC), parent co. of Elements.
“Being closed for close to 16 months generates its own set of inherent challenges on day one,” Keeling explained, “But for opening for the first time in so long, and for having team members have to brush up on old skills, and having them have to learn rigorous health and safety provisions and protocols and their role in them, we couldn’t have asked for a better opening.”
He said the whole reopening process had a steep learning curve for everyone.
In a news release June 29, BCLC said gaming centres were reopening in “step three” as part of the Province’s restart plan.
“When players are ready to visit a gambling facility, they will see changes to support a careful and safe restart, including reduced capacity, physical distancing measures, new table-game procedures, enhanced sanitation, and mandatory face coverings,” the release noted.
Keeling said despite the massive changes, there were relatively few hiccups on day one. He said even with their reduced capacity, there was a palpable energy felt throughout the casino from both gamers and staff, all happy to be there.
“It was fantastic to see employees back and it was fantastic to see guests back,” added Keeling. “I was (at Elements Casino) yesterday. The capacity is down and there are barriers up, but there was still a buzz from both guests and employees.”
Keeling said according to the government’s restart plan, and barring any setbacks for other reasons, gamers can expect Elements to be back to normal (full capacity, no barriers) by Sept. 7.
“We’re just thrilled we’ve been allowed to reopen,” he said. “There was an untold amount of work that went into getting ready.”
He said despite that amount of work, everyone locked arms to get the job done and effect a smooth reopening.
“When the province announced their restart plan on May 25, we knew we could open as early as July 1,” explained Keeling. “So we had five weeks of runway to get ready.”
Keeling said Great Canadian Gaming’s biggest concern surrounded their employees. A large majority of them had been off for 16 months. They weren’t sure how many would come back.
“We have been floored that, across the company in both B.C. and Surrey, we’ve been able to retain more than 90 per cent of our employees.”
Although Keeling said they still have positions to fill (a list can be found on their website).
“There are jobs that are still open, but we’re grateful that so many team members chose to return. There were lots of challenges, but by far the biggest barrier that was removed was the employees.”
Michael Worth, GM for Elements Casino Surrey, said the buffet is not yet open, he hopes it will be ready to go by Sept. 7, but noted “Foodies” is operating so food and drinks are available.
Worth added that slot machines are available around the clock, but there is still limited availability for table games.
The slot machines at Elements Casino Surrey are now open 24/7, while table games are only open 10 a.m. to 2 a.m from Sunday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 a.m on both Friday and Saturday.