Business is a lot closer to normal at Cascades Casino in Langley City, seen here on July 31 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Business is a lot closer to normal at Cascades Casino in Langley City, seen here on July 31 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Convention bookings are already being made at reopened Cascades Casino Resort in Langley City

Most, but not all, are picking dates after almost all COVID restrictions end, in September

Bookings for conventions at the just-reopened Cascades Casino Resort in Langley are already coming in.

Since the casino, hotel and convention centre complex resumed operations on July 1, managers have been fielding inquiries, some under the existing COVID-19 limits, said Tanya Gabara, public relations director for Cascades owner Gateway Casinos.

“We are seeing some bookings come, even with the current indoor gathering guidelines,” Gabra told the Langley Advance Times.

Under phase three, indoor organized gatherings are limited to 50 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is greater.

Many inquiring appear to be waiting for the next phase, Gabara observed.

“The majority of our inquiries are for dates into the fall and winter when those guidelines are expected to further relax [under phase four of the provincial restart plan].

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Cascades, which normally employs close to 600, has some vacancies to fill, Gabara advised.

“Unfortunately, there were some staff members that did move on to find other employment while we were under a government mandated closure,” Gabara said.

“We do have open positions and have begun recruiting efforts to fill them.”

While waiting to reopen, the casino reconfigured seating at slot machines and table games to ensure a two-metre distance between players.

Physical barriers, usually Plexiglas, have been installed and select slot machines have been disabled and the seating removed.

Other changes include limited occupancy on the gaming floor; table games limited to those in which cards can be dealt face up; and players will not be permitted to touch cards which the exception of Squeeze Baccarat, which utilizes one-time use cards.

Poker and Bingo will not be offered under the current restrictions.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: While they wait to reopen, Cascades casino in Langley City is preparing

Glacier Bar, Starbucks, and casino floor food and beverage service has resumed with revised operating plans.

Match Eatery & Public House and Atlas Steak + Fish restaurants at the Cascades were already open, but the buffet will remain closed for the time being.

“The re-opening of Cascades Langley has gone very well,” Gabara summarized.

“Both customers and our staff are happy to be back and seem very comfortable and confident in our health and safety protocols.”

Cascades is a major Langley City employer that shares 10 per cent of its net profits with the municipality as required under gaming regulations.

Revenues to the City run around $6 million a year, funds that have kept taxes 2.5 per cent lower than they would be without the gaming revenue and has funded various civic projects.

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