Minnesota-based Canterbury Park Racetrack and Card Casino announced on Friday (November 20) that it would temporarily close its doors in compliance with an executive order from Governor Tim Walz.
Walz ordered a four-week closure of dining and entertainment venues, effective 21 November, amid rising number of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the state.
The track has therefore suspended all of its card casino, simulcast and special events operations, lasting for a period of four weeks until Friday, December 18.
Canterbury Park said it was active dialogue with state and local officials on efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on its operations and the community. It has not suspended its real estate development operations, however.
Randy Sampson, the track’s president and chief executive, said that the health and well-being of staff and guests was of primary importance to the company.
He explained that during the track’s first closure in March and subsequent resumption in June, it had implemented new Covid-19 protocols including enhanced sanitation and the promotion of social distancing.
Sampson described the safety plan as successful and stated there was no knowledge of any spread of the virus among team members or guests at the venue.
He described how, over the last eight months, the company has focused on conserving cash and maintaining the financial flexibility required to manage through the pandemic while continuing its real estate development operations.
The focus has allowed the company to generate positive cash flow in the third quarter, he said, with momentum carrying through to the fourth.
According to results published earlier this month, revenue for the three months ended September 30 came to $13.3m, representing a decline of 28.5% compared to the third quarter of 2019, though up significantly compared to the first quarter this year.
Sampson continued that the company currently has no borrowings on its line of credit, positioning Canterbury Park with the liquidity and flexibility required for long-term health and growth.
“Our dedicated Canterbury family of employees is of utmost importance to us and we greatly appreciate their patience and support during the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
“We will continue to communicate directly with our employees and the greater Canterbury Park community if we become aware of new developments and will post updated information on our website as it becomes available,” Sampson explained.
“Our goal is to reopen our Card Casino, simulcast and special events operations following the mandated four week temporary suspension and look forward to a brighter future as restrictions on our operations are lifted.”
The operator posted a net loss of $925,976 for the first half of 2020, with net operating revenue in the six months to June 30 amounting to $13.7m, down 51.1% from $28.0m in the same period last year.