Crown Melbourne faces five-day lockdown as Victoria tightens restrictions again

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Crown Melbourne has been forced to close its gaming activities until next Wednesday due to new lockdown rules imposed in Victoria.

A five-day lockdown has been implemented by the Victorian Government between today (Friday) and 11:59pm on Tuesday 20 July.

During that time, Crown Melbourne must cease gaming activities, food & beverage and retail and other amenities. Hotel accommodation will continue to be provided for approved purposes.

Crown Resorts’ Crown Sydney facility is closed until at least 30 July after an initial two-week lockdown in New South Wales from late June was extended earlier this week. Its food & beverage and conferencing facilities will remain closed until at least 30 July, while hotel services will continue to operate in a reduced capacity.

Meanwhile, Crown Perth has this week seen all restrictions lifted. The facility was able to offer gaming activities and food & beverage for limited numbers from 6 July, but from 12 July it was able to transition gaming and non-gaming activities to pre-lockdown conditions.

Crown Resorts said in May it expects to report a sharp decline in earnings for its 2021 financial year, due to the impact of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on the business.

For the 12 months to 30 June 2021, Crown said theoretical earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) before closure costs but before significant items is forecast to amount to between AUD$240m (£130.4m/€152.2m/US$180.4m) and $250m. This means it is expected to halve, compared to $503.8m in the previous year.

Speaking about its support for staff amid the continuing impact of the pandemic, a Crown Resorts spokesperson said: “Crown continues to support employees, in all states that are impacted by lockdowns or restrictions, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Crown’s practice has been to pay full rostered shifts in week one of a lockdown followed by discretionary payments from Crown to employees, which is considered on a case-by-case basis depending on their eligibility for government assistance. Crown is also providing employees with  information about the Federal Government’s enhanced assistance for individuals whose ability to work has been impacted by the extended lockdown.

“In addition to payments, Crown is providing impacted employees with access to the Crown Resorts Hardship Fund. To date, close to 1,000 employees have accessed this fund to alleviate financial hardship caused by not being able to work in lockdown.”