After 18 years of gaming, parties and other events, The Matrix Gaming Centre in Regina is closing its doors.
The business had to close its doors due to the public health orders brought about due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 20.
Compounding matters, the building where The Matrix is located in Regina was sold to new owners in mid-January.
Mark Lloyd, the president and CEO of The Matrix Gaming Centre, said he had to lay off his entire staff, and liquidate or store the business’s gaming equipment and other assets.
He said the business can’t operate until phase four of the provincial reopening strategy, which only allows 30 people in a business at a time — something that’s not financially viable to Lloyd.
Reopening and being forced to close in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 would also be financially devastating, he said.
“Nobody knows when phase four or phase five is going to start. I’m guessing September, for phase five, maybe,” he said.
“Then I’ll need to negotiate a lease and get a building permit from the city … and then build out the space, that’ll be two or three months. It’s going to be about nine months to fifteen months.”
Prior to public health orders coming into place, Lloyd said he was days away from signing another lease at a new location — but the pandemic and subsequent restrictions changed those plans.
He said on the positive side, he’s got lots of time now to plan out the future and line up different financial opportunities.
He said The Matrix’s old building being sold also has a silver lining in that he doesn’t have rent, insurance or utility bills to pay.
In the meantime, Lloyd said he’s going to shift his focus to computer sales and service, starting in July.
But Lloyd said he’s already lost a substantial amount of revenue in the two and a half months he’s been closed.
“The sad part really is that these last two years were our best two years on record,” Lloyd said.
“In fact, February was our best February ever and now here we are, about to move into storage.”