29 Oct 2021

SkyCity isn't taking a gamble, will only open to vaccinated people

7:35 pm on 29 October 2021

Casino operator SkyCity Entertainment will only allow fully vaccinated people into its establishments when they reopen.

The SkyCity casino in Hamilton.

The SkyCity casino in Hamilton. Photo: Facebook / SkyCity

The company's Auckland and Hamilton casinos have been shut because of current Covid-19 lockdowns, although its smaller Queenstown reopened on the move to Level 2.

Chief executive Michael Ahearne has told the company's annual meeting that the new traffic light system will allow it to reopen its larger casinos, and hotels.

"Accordingly, our intention is that all SkyCity properties in New Zealand will operate as vaccination-only venues when the new framework comes into effect - a decision that has been made with the health and safety of our staff and customers in mind."

The vaccine mandate would apply to all its 2900 employees, as well as customers, contractors and visitors to any of its New Zealand.

"As one of the biggest entertainment venues in New Zealand, and a significant employer in New Zealand, we need to take measures to help keep Kiwis safe," Ahearne said.

Ahearne repeated that the current lockdowns were costing the company about $1 million a day in lost earnings, and a forecast of full-year earnings was not possible.

"Trading over the course of the first half of the financial year has been materially impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions, in particular the ongoing lockdown in the Auckland region and, consequently, the company's first-half earnings are expected to be impacted from the difficult trading conditions."

He said the recently refurbished Adelaide casino in South Australia had been closed only briefly but was now trading with social distancing and other restrictions activity was subdued.

Ahearne said the company has claimed the wage subsidy for Auckland staff from mid-September and for Hamilton staff from early October to ensure it held on to staff.