Buenos Aires province closes casinos and bingo halls as COVID cases rise

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Casinos and bingo halls in the province of Buenos Aires have been forced to shut down again due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. The latest measure affects all gambling venues within General Pueyrredon, which had received an exemption to operate earlier this month. 

Although the measures applied to all jurisdictions in Argentina, some provinces followed their own rules as they argued that their levels of infections are manageable.

In regards to General Pueyrredon, local authorities had decided that the gambling venues in Mar del Plata and the bingo halls in Pinamar, Necochea, Tres Arroyos, Ramallo and Olavarría could operate as long as they remained in step with Phase 4 of the reopening process.

Given an alarming rise in infections, the government of Buenos Aires Province set that General Pueyrredon, as well as other 45 communes, are now back in Phase 3, for at least two weeks.

After announcing the measures Germán Martínez, secretary of the Gambling Workers Union of Argentina (Aleara),  said that this setback affects 800 employees.

“We haven’t received these news very well because we feel that the activity is once again being discriminated against. There are places and shops that [are operating] under a minimum capacity, but the only one that will be closed is the gambling sector,” Martinez told CNN Radio Argentina’s Hora 12.

Additionally, he assured that the union will contact the Mayor of General Pueyrredon Guillermo Tristán Montenegro to let him know that their locations comply with all protocols, and will share their opinion with the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers of Argentina Santiago Cafiero, the Governor Axel Kicillof and the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers of the province of Buenos Aires Carlos Bianco.

“We’ve seen this movie last year and [the closure] won’t be for just 15 days. We were the first to shut down and the last to open. Maybe there’s a study that [authorities] are keeping to themselves that shows that bingo halls are the biggest source of infection, as it’s the only activity that is shut down in the province of Buenos Aires,” Martínez added.