Ontario casinos were able to return to 100% operational capacity on Monday following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Fully open for business
Casinos, bingo halls, and other types of gaming establishments in Ontario no longer have to deal with provincial capacity restrictions. Starting Monday, businesses that require customers to show proof of COVID-19 immunization such as casinos, gyms, and restaurants were able to fully open for business.
Elements Casino Ontario tweeted about its return to 100% operational capacity on Sunday:
Other locations that do not currently fall under the province’s proof of vaccination rules, such as places of worship, galleries, and museums, also have the chance to open at 100% capacity. They must introduce a proof of vaccination mandate to do so, however.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the easing of some of the province’s last remaining pandemic-related measures last week. According to a government news release, the scaling back of capacity curtailments has resulted from “continued improvements to key indicators” in the province’s battle against COVID-19.
A long time coming
More than 20 casinos operate in Ontario, and these gambling establishments have dealt with capacity restrictions or closures since the spring of last year. During the toughest period, all of Ontario’s casinos had to remain shuttered between March 2020 and July 2021.
proof of vaccination requirements for casinos came into place on September 22
After Ontario exceeded its vaccination target in July this year, the government allowed casinos to reopen at 50% capacity as part of the third phase of the province’s reopening plan. The proof of vaccination requirements for casinos came into place on September 22, in response to Canada’s fourth wave of COVID-19.
Following Friday’s announcement of the further easing of restrictions, Niagara Casinos president Richard Taylor reportedly welcomed the news. He praised the removal of capacity limits as a good step for casinos in the province, also applauding the easing of social distancing requirements. Taylor added that his company aims to provide the best possible service while protecting staff and customers alike.
Roadmap to recovery
Local political leaders in Ontario have welcomed the easing of capacity measures and encouraged residents to show their support for local businesses as they attempt to recover.
This plan is built for the long term.”
During his announcement on Friday, Doug Ford also revealed plans for the long-term managing of the pandemic. He said: “This plan is built for the long term. It will guide us safely through the winter and out of this pandemic, while avoiding lockdowns and ensuring we don’t lose the hard-fought gains we have made.”
As part of this strategy, proof of vaccination rules will start to drop away in early 2022, as long as the pandemic situation does not worsen. The move will begin with casinos, gyms, and bars in January.
According to recent provincial figures, 83% of Ontarians of at least 12 years old have received their full vaccinations. On Monday, the province reported 326 new cases of the virus and no new deaths.