AGLC Temporarily Laying Off 265 Staff Amid Casino Closures
January 12, 2021
Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis (AGLC) notified 265 staff on Monday, January 11, that they will be temporarily laid off as of either the end of January or early February.
The layoffs impact casino employees across the province, but mainly in the Calgary and Edmonton areas.
"Given the province-wide closure of gaming venues resulting in work restrictions for some of our employees, AGLC has made the difficult decision to temporarily lay off 265 staff associated with gaming operations,” said Heather Holmen, AGLC spokesperson, in a statement.
"AGLC has continually worked to balance both budgetary and operational challenges the pandemic has presented," Holmen continued. "While we have been able to do this during previous restrictions without layoffs, that is no longer the case.
"We understand this is a difficult time for these employees and our many stakeholders whose operations have been impacted by COVID-19. AGLC operations and support for our partners will remain largely unchanged by these layoffs.
"Affected staff were notified of this decision on Jan. 11 and the temporary layoffs will be effective at the end of January and early February."
The move comes as provincial restrictions caused by COVID-19 have forced Alberta gaming venues to shut their doors to customers.
Casinos were shut down when Alberta first initiated closures on March 17 at the start of the pandemic.
They were allowed to reopen June 12 under Phase 2 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy. There were no capacity restrictions but businesses were asked to monitor for physical distancing, space out stations or install physical barriers, supply hand sanitizer for guests, and “regularly clean and disinfect” high-touch surfaces. Table games remained closed. There were no specific rules around cleaning frequency or mandatory mask-wearing.
On Sept. 3, table games were permitted to open again with mitigating health and safety measures in place.
Then, on Nov. 24, new rules made masks mandatory in all indoor work places in Edmonton and Calgary and limited capacity at businesses to 25 per cent.
A few weeks later, the province announced new COVID-19 safety restrictions, ordering casinos to close, along with a range of other restrictive measures, effective Sunday, Dec. 13.
As of Jan. 10, there were 14,116 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, 794 people in hospital (128 of whom were in intensive care units), and 1,284 total deaths.