SkyCity’s New Zealand venues to be for only the vaccinated

By Noah Taylor Updated
SkyCity unable to issue dividends in 2022

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

RNZ reports that the company’s Auckland and Hamilton casinos have been shut because of current COVID-19 lockdowns, although its smaller Queenstown venue reopened recently.

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 venues.

“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 the 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.

SkyCity CEO outlines plan for vax record

The CEO is walking the talk: “I got the first vaccination in August at a drive-in centre in Auckland and the second at Mt Wellington two weeks ago.”

Asked about side effects: “Not a thing. It was very well run and organised. All the family is vaccinated, although a 14-year-old son is due his second shot in another fortnight.”

Ahearne said he did not know how many of the 4200 staff had been vaccinated due to privacy issues that were being worked through, but the hope is to keep a record.

“Our plan is to get everyone to provide proof of vaccine for our records.”

At Adelaide, 1000 staff were being encouraged to be vaccinated, although no centre had been set up within the riverside property.

Fletcher Building’s 13,700 staff in NZ, Australia and the Pacific Islands, have been invited to participate in its programmed named #myWhy, while Westpac, with 4000 NZ employees said it introduced paid special leave for employees to attend COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

Crown floats compulsory vaccination for staff and patrons

In mid-September, Australian casino operator Crown Resorts said it was pushing for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for its employees and customers of its venues.

It employs 20,000 people at its resorts and casinos in Australia.

Crown Melbourne and Crown Resorts chief executive Steve McCann said 60 per cent of the company’s employees had already received at least one dose of vaccine.

“This is about protecting every Australian. We want to create a safe environment for people to come to work, and also for our guests to come to enjoy themselves,” he said.

Back to top