November 19, 2021
Only the vaccinated or those with COVID-19 antibodies will be allowed to play in this year’s WSOPE following new restrictions in the Czech Republic.
News that the unvaccinated will be barred from certain public services broke on Wednesday and CardsChat has since confirmed that the rules will be in force at King’s Resort.
We called the Czech casino’s customer service team to confirm that, from Monday, visitors will either have to be vaccinated or prove they’ve recovered from COVID within the last six months. The representative told us that Czech national laws will apply, but anyone with questions can call or visit in person and the property will try to accommodate people as much as possible.
In practice, however, the latest restriction means that players who were planning to use a negative COVID test to ante up in this year’s WSOP Europe will be left out in the cold.
WSOPE starts as COVID concerns surge
The WSOPE officially got underway on Friday, and the plan was to operate in a similar fashion to the WSOP in Las Vegas. This would have meant people can participate in the series if they were vaccinated, could prove they’d recovered from COVID-19 (antibody results), or had a negative PCR test.
King’s Resort tweaked its guidelines in late October in line with updated national regulations, but proof from all visitors was still required. Now, however, the option to produce a negative test has been removed.
The new rules were approved by the Czech government on Wednesday. They come into force on Monday, which means unvaccinated people won’t be able to use public services or venues. The only caveat to this is that people who can prove they’ve recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months can also continue as normal.
How to prove vaccination status
King’s Resort accepts all nationally recognized COVID passes and vaccines. In practice, this means players will be granted entry if they’ve had a full course of one of these vaccines:
- The Vaxzervria Vaccine (AstraZeneca)
- The Spikevax Vaccine (Moderna)
- The Comirnaty Vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech)
- The Janssen Vaccine (Janssen Pharmaceutical)
- The Covishield Vaccine
A lockdown of the unvaccinated sweeps across Europe
The draconian step to lock down the unvaccinated was first introduced in Austria this week. The German government has since said it is considering similar measures, while Slovakia joined the Czech Republic in approving a lockdown of the unvaccinated.
Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech said the law is designed to increase “motivation for vaccinations.” Fifty-eight percent of the Czech population is currently vaccinated, which is below the European average of 65.5%.
A record 22,511 daily COVID cases were recorded on Tuesday, just 24 hours before the new rules were approved. In tandem with locking down the unvaccinated, it’s now mandatory for businesses to test their staff members before they start a shift.
This protocol is in place at King’s Resort. Additionally, all members of staff at King’s Resort are fully vaccinated.
Finally, foreign travelers entering the Czech Republic are required to fill in a locator form. The vaccinated don’t have to show negative test results, but they do have to provide details of their intended destination.
Vaccines doing their thing, but infections are increasing
These measures should help to minimize the chances of a major outbreak at the WSOPE. However, there is mounting evidence that, while vaccines help prevent serious illness and death, they’re not stopping the spread.
Gibraltar, a country with a 100% vaccination rate, has seen cases spike over the past two weeks, and the government has implied that Christmas celebrations may have to be canceled as a result. Back in the US, a mini-outbreak at the WSOP has caused some players to miss the final few events.
While the ongoing pandemic is still far from being fully contained, the show will go on at King’s Resort, where the WSOPE will run until Dec. 8 — but only for those who are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.
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