The EPT Prague stop scheduled to begin on December 8th has been postponed indefinitely in the wake of emergency pandemic restrictions announced yesterday by the Czech Republic that went into effect today. The 30-day period covered by the Czech order limits attendance at all venues where the public gathers. It covers the entirety of the European Poker Tour Prague stop, which was scheduled for December 8-19, 2021.
The indefinite postponement of the EPT Prague stop comes immediately after the ongoing WSOP Europe series in Rozvadov (also in the Czech Republic) announced it was changing its plans to come into line with the emergency restrictions. As reported by Poker.org’s Jon Pill, WSOP Europe will continue. However, the WSOP-E series will move forward with earlier start times, 10 pm halts to play, and an attendance cap each day of 1,000 players of fewer. The cap will almost assuredly result in significantly reduced turnout for that series.
EPT Prague postponement announced on PokerStars blog
EPT Prague’s sidelining was announced by the tour’s founding site and long-running sponsor, PokerStars, which offered the following statement on the PokerStars blog:
Important for European Poker Tour players.
Following the recent government restrictions put in place in the Czech Republic we have had to make the unfortunate decision to postpone EPT Prague.
We understand that this will be disappointing news to our players, but we must follow the government guidance given to us.
The health and safety of our staff and players is a top priority and we will look to run EPT Prague at a later date when we are safe and able to do so.
For more details or information regarding player refunds please contact email@example.com.
COVID-19 surge, ‘Omicron’ variant appearance spur action
As Pill reported, the Czech Republic’s emergency order comes in the face of a surge in recorded COVID-19 cases in the country that reached an all-time high last week. While the majority of the cases are of the widespread ‘Delta’ variant, the Czech order also comes as European countries react to the emergence of another contagious variant, the ‘Omicron’ strain that originated in South Africa. That strain has already been identified in Europe in the case of an unvaccinated Belgian national who returned from South Africa carrying the infection.
As with WSOP Europe host casino Kings Resort Rozvadov, EPT Prague venue Kings Casino Prague was as prepared as possible beforehand, to no avail. All casino employees were vaccinated as a condition of employment. Recent Czech reports indicate that Czech officials are considering mandatory vaccination for all citizens and visitors in an attempt to stem the latest pandemic surge.
Whatever steps come next, it will likely be at least spring of 2022 before an EPT Prague series can be rescheduled and run. Not only is the scheduling itself contingent on outside circumstances, the series will have to be slotted among major poker events being held elsewhere, including other EPT stops.
Featured image source: Kings Casino Prague