SkyCity follows Crown’s lead to mandate vaccination for patrons and employees

By William Brown Updated
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SkyCity Entertainment is following the lead of its Australian colleagues Crown Resorts by requiring all staff and visitors to its New Zealand casinos and resorts be fully vaccinated.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that SkyCity chief executive officer Michael Ahearne revealed the vaccine mandate at the company’s annual general meeting, as New Zealand edges closer to the 90 per cent vaccination rate that will see the country end its reliance on lockdowns.

Instead, the government recently announced a traffic light system under which venues will be allowed to stay open, but with three tiers of restrictions in place – green, orange and red.

“At all levels, businesses, retail and public facilities will generally be able to remain open for vaccinated people,” Ahearne said.

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

Australia’s Crown Resorts, operator of Crown Melbourne, Crown Perth and Crown Sydney revealed that it was introducing a no jab, no entry policy for customers and mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all employees, becoming the first operator in the region to do so.

Likewise, SkyCity will also require its 2900 employees, customers and contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to gain access to its sites in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown.

It is not clear if the measures will also be in place for SkyCity’s sole Australian resort in Adelaide.

“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.

“While we have existing safety controls in place to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, public health information and research confirm that COVID-19 vaccines will provide the best protection for our staff and customers.

“Supporting the vaccination targets set by the government is going to help our industry reopen, stay open and recover faster.”

SkyCity’s flagship property, SkyCity Auckland, remains shut after suspending operations on August 17 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the city.

SkyCity on the hunt for new board member

SkyCity Entertainment Group Chairman Rob Campbell has announced his position from the company’s Board.

Gambling Insider reports that since being appointed as a SkyCity director in 2017 and moving to Chair of the Board in 2018, after four years in his role, he has decided to step down.

Campbell will go on to work on other commitments, including recently being appointed as new Chair of the Health NZ Interim Board and Chancellor of the Auckland University of Technology.

SkyCity chief executive officer Michael Ahearne commented on Campbell’s retirement: “Rob has been an outstanding Chairman of SkyCity and has guided the group through some very challenging times, including the New Zealand International Convention Centre fire and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Rob has also been an instigator and champion of SkyCity’s sustainability, social responsibility and compliance improvement initiatives.

“He leaves SkyCity in a strong position with a refreshed Board, a financially resilient balance sheet and an experienced management team.”

Campbell’s departure follows many new changes for SkyCity, including the new appointment of New Zealand chief operating officer Callum Mallett.

SkyCity will now undertake a process to appoint a new Chair.

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