Yes, Casinos near the U.S. border in Ontario are reopening this Friday after a long period of closure due to the pandemic. Under existing health regulations, the casinos will be able to accommodate half of the usual number of patrons up to a maximum of 1,000 people.
At Caesars Casino in Windsor, less than 50 tables will be in operation by next week, says the casino’s public relations manager, Susanne Tomkins. We will reopen with 41 gaming tables and over 190 seats with Plexiglas barriers, in accordance with existing rules,” she said.
She said the slot machines will be up and running by Friday, while users of the gaming tables will have to wait until July 28.
Casino Niagara will also not be offering gaming or poker tables during the initial stages of reopening, said Richard Taylor, president of Niagara Casinos.
On the staff side, Susanne Tomkins says about 40 per cent of employees will return to work.
Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444, is pleased with the return to business. People are happy to be back at work. We haven’t worked since March 2020, and that’s a long time,” he says.
Cassidy hopes the rest of the employees will return to work soon.
EI benefits will end in September, and we need to make sure people are back to work before then. That’s our goal now. But the atmosphere is great.
Dave Cassidy, President of Unifor Local 444
At Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara, at least a quarter of the employees will return to work, according to Richard Taylor. We are very pleased that we have already recalled more than 1,000 full and part-time workers,” he said. Before its closure in March, Niagara Casinos employed more than 4,000 people.
However, the Americans who represent a major source of revenue for Ontario casinos will not be able to cross the border until August 9. For Susanne Tomkins, it is important to prepare for the return of these customers.
Caesars Windsor sees the reopening of the border to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens on August 9 as a positive first step [for the return of U.S. customers],” she says.
Tomkins adds that the organization continues to refine plans and consider further expansion based on demand and the easing of restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
Casino Rama Resort will reopen to the public on July 29.