Australia’s Star Entertainment Group has stood down 90% of its workforce and will slash directors’ fees and salaries as it looks to navigate the closure of all casino operations due to COVID-19.
Casinos across the country were ordered closed indefinitely by Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the weekend, with Star subsequently shutting down gaming operations at The Star Sydney, The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Casino in Brisbane at midday on Monday. It has also reduced capacity at all hotels, while food and beverage outlets on property are allowed to sell takeaway only.
In a statement issued shortly before noon on Wednesday, Star revealed it has taken the “very difficult, but necessary, decision” to stand down more than 90% of its workforce of around 9,000 employees in order to minimize the financial impact of closure and conserve liquidity.
All employees stood down have been paid two weeks’ pandemic leave and can access any accrued annual and long service leave entitlements, Star added, while the board and senior management will forego a significant percentage of entitled directors’ fees and salaries respectively.
The company noted that it was unable to provide any reliable guidance on the likely impact on its financial performance but revealed it currently has available cash or undrawn committed debt facilities of AU$480 million.
“This is a unique environment and one beyond our control in which we’re determined to balance the necessary measures needed to protect the business while considering the considerable human impact to our workforce,” said Chairman John O’Neill.