The tourism sector in Monaco is already feeling the economic fallout of Covid-19. The pandemic that has sent the world reeling has turned Monte Carlo into a ghost town, something unheard of since World War II. Most businesses, including hotels, bars and restaurants are closed. Nearly 90% of the Société des Bains de Mer 4,500 employees are temporarily unemployed. According to a recent news segment, the company has already lost 92% of its turnover for the month of March. This blow comes at an especially upsetting time because the company was just coming out of years of renovation, which was meant to lead them into an economically healthy summer.
Since 23 March, only the Monte-Carlo Bay and the Hôtel de Paris have been open with a downsized team, for guests staying year-round. Employees who can work remotely are the only others still working. All other employees are staying home on unemployment insurance or sick leave. The recruitment of seasonal workers, the first of whom were to be hired at Easter, has been postponed.
Now, like many businesses, the SBM is heading into the unknown. Experts are still guessing as to how long this pandemic will last, many are hoping it will all be over by the summer and social activities will resume. A few SBM bookings have been made for the summer, but everyone has to wait and see how things turn out. Big summer 2020 events like the dance festival on 4 July and the much-anticipated Céline Dion concert on 18 July are still on the agenda.
Currently all of the group’s game rooms are closed until further notice, an emotional situation for many of the casino employees. For now, behind the scenes, marketing teams are preparing for when things start up again (safely from home via Skype).
Construction work on the Place du Casino was supposed to be completed by the beginning of April, marking the start of the season. Despite most of Monaco remaining closed for the safety of the population, work on the Place du Casino is continuing. Because the work is taking place in the open air involving only one company, hygiene measures can remain in place to keep the workers safe.
Forty workers are currently working on the 3,000 m2 esplanade, where twenty palm trees have just been planted. The square is now being paved. The brand new space will be ready for a new future ahead, whenever that may be.