After many months of Covid shutdown, authorities in Nepal have eased restrictions, allowing the reopening of the casinos that contribute so much to the nation’s economy. The Nepalese Government first imposed a nationwide lockdown in March 2020, and certain restrictions remained in place until as recently as September 2021. The seven-day quarantine rule for all foreigners has been relaxed, and the issuing of visas on arrival to fully vaccinated international travellers is now in place. Tourism Ministry spokesman Taranath Adhikari said: “The casinos are now allowed to resume operations by following health safety protocols.”
Nepal’s Hotel, Casino and Restaurant Workers’ Union President Surya Bahadur Kunwar said a dozen casinos had reopened and others will resume in the coming days and weeks. The Finance Ministry had previously waived an annual royalty for casinos for the Nepalese fiscal year that ended June 30th 2021, to help them following the crippling shutdown. The casino industry owes over €1m to the Government and furloughed most of its 15,000 workers during the lockdown.
“We are largely dependent on clients from India and now the pandemic has eased there as well, we expect lady luck to spin the wheels once again for us.” said an executive of Nepal’s Casino Operators Association.