November 26, 2021
The World Series of Poker Europe was plunged into a state of emergency on Thursday night, along with the Czech Republic’s entire hospitality sector, following a surge in COVID cases.
Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech announced a national state of emergency on Thursday and imposed a wave of new restrictions. In addition to banning the consumption of alcohol in public places and shutting down Christmas markets, Vojtech put a 10pm curfew on bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and casinos.
The 30-day state of emergency also means hospitality venues will be subject to capacity limits of up to 1,000 people. These restrictions, in tandem with previously enforced vaccination rules, mean that King’s Resort had to update the WSOPE schedule.
WSOPE largely unaffected by new COVID restrictions
The important point to note is that the WSOPE will continue. But, based on how things have changed in the Czech Republic over the past month, this too could be subject to change in the coming days.
COVID cases in the Czech Republic hit a daily peak of 27,717 on Thursday. That’s 10,000 more positive cases per day than the previous highs in January.
To make matters worse, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday night. The 77-year-old was taken back to the hospital less than a day after being discharged following treatment for an undisclosed chronic illness.
Health Minister Vojtech hopes the new restrictions will curb the current surge. He told Reuters that the plan is to wait “10 days” before reassessing the situation. As a precaution, the national state of emergency is in place for 30 days from today.
CardsChat called King’s Resort to talk about the current situation. A representative told us that, barring a few adjustments, it’s business as usual inside the casino. The majority of tournaments start at 10am, which means there can be 12 hours of play, if required, before the 10pm curfew.
Larger WSOPE events, such as the Colossus, will be capped at 1,000 entrants per day with the option to add extra sessions if necessary. Other than these changes, players attending the WSOPE don’t need to be concerned.
Bracelet race will continue in the Czech Republic
The most important thing to come out of our conversation with the casino’s representative was that the new restrictions won’t mar the WSOPE. The organizers are complying with the new rules, but they’re also making sure the series delivers as expected.
The Czech Republic’s borders remain open to travelers. Moreover, all members of the King’s Resort staff are fully vaccinated, and there are enhanced cleaning protocols in place throughout the casino.
Additionally, only vaccinated players or those with provable immunity can take part in the WSOPE. Therefore, while COVID might be causing some unexpected disruption, it won’t stop the action at King’s Resort.
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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