The concern of residents of the Indian state of Goa is that players who attend local casinos, which recently resumed their operations, are acting recklessly and there are fears that there will be a new outbreak of the pandemic in that territory.
Both the floating and land-based casinos in Goa were authorized to reopen their doors from november 1, after being closed for almost seven months due to coronavirus infections.
The establishments can only open to 50% of their capacity as a way to reduce the possibility of new infections between customers. But immediately, due to pent-up demand, the casinos filled up, generating annoyance and concern for residents.
The presence of dozens of players in the streets gathered, without the use of face masks or maintaining the due measures of social distancing, has been reported. One of these places where there are floating casinos is the city of Panaji.
Last week, Mayor Uday Madkaikar announced the call for a meeting with local casino operators to discuss the problem generated by non-compliance with medical regulations, which the casinos themselves must observe and contribute to compliance, since this it was a condition for them to reopen.
Madkaikar noted that fines of up to 100 rupees (US $ 1.35) would be imposed for each tourist caught breaking the rules. For his part, the chief minister, Pramod Sawant, stated that the sanction would be doubled for those who did not wear the mask.
The Panaji authorities detained and towed hundreds of two- and four-wheelers that blocked the streets and impeded the movement of local residents.
However, some state politicians fear that these measures will push tourists away. Last Tuesday, BJP MLA Atansio Monserrate reported that other neighboring states such as Maharashtra, were applying the requirement to be tested for COVID-19, before visiting Goans and indicated that they were “free for everyone.”
Some locals were upset with Panaji officials for breaking their promises not to renew the gaming licenses of Goa’s six floating casinos. The promise served to pressure the state to seek a new permanent mooring point for the floating casinos.
Although the casino lawyers warned Panajji that if he prevented the casinos from working, he could face multiple lawsuits.
As of tuesday, the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Goa reached more than 47,000. Of these, more than 1,200 are still active while 679 people have died so far.