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Crown Resorts dealt harsh blow as Melbourne goes back into lockdown for six weeks

Hopes that Crown Resorts’ flagship Melbourne casino might reopen soon have been dealt a crippling blow after the Victorian government announced on Tuesday that the city would re-enter Stage 3 lockdown for the next six weeks.

The new lockdown comes as a second wave of COVID-19 strikes the southern Australian state, sparked by a controversial outbreak at a Melbourne quarantine hotel due to alleged serious failures in basic security protocols.

It is also in stark contrast to the rest of Australia, where businesses have mostly reopened and new COVID-19 cases have plummeted to low single digits.

On Tuesday, after Victoria recorded 191 new cases in the previous 24 hours compared with just eight cases across Australia’s other seven states and territories combined, the state government announced that Melbourne and several regional towns will return to Stage 3 lockdown for the next six weeks. The lockdown will allow for retail businesses to remain open with density limits, however residents will be required to stay home and only allowed to leave for work, food, exercise or medical care.

Crown Melbourne, which has been closed since 23 March, had yet to reopen and looks set to remain shuttered for some time yet.

Crown Resorts issued a short statement in which it said only, “This afternoon the Victorian Government announced that it will reintroduce Stage 3 restrictions across metropolitan Melbourne.

“Crown’s first priority is the health and safety of its employees, guests and the community.”

Crown’s other Australian casino, Crown Perth, reopened on 27 June while Star Entertainment Group opened its properties in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast to the general public last week.

Crown recently secured more than AU$1 billion in additional debt facilities to help it ride out COVID-19, including AU$560 million in new bilateral facilities with relationship banks and another AU$450 million project finance facility to support the ongoing construction of its AU$2.2 billion Crown Sydney development, due to open in 2021.

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