The Canadian province of Ontario will require people to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination before they can enter casinos and other gaming facilities. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Dealing with a fourth wave
Ontario is the latest Canadian province to announce that it will soon require people to provide proof of their coronavirus vaccination status before they enter casinos. The measure will come into effect on September 22 and will cover casinos, bingo halls, and other types of gambling establishments.
measure will come into effect on September 22
The move comes in reaction to the current fourth wave of COVID-19 in the country. The Ontario Ministry of Health tweeted out details of the latest announcement on Wednesday:
The new requirement will ensure that only people who have been fully vaccinated gain entry to the casinos upon presentation of a photo ID.
Visitors with medical exemptions who are unable to get vaccinated will also be able to enter these businesses if they have a doctor’s note. The latter measure will be in place until there can be an integration of recognized medical exemptions into the country’s digital vaccine certificate.
In addition to gambling premises, other higher-risk settings that will ask for proof of full vaccination in Ontario include restaurants, bars, nightclubs, meeting and event spaces, gyms, recreational and fitness facilities, as well as sporting events, concerts, cinemas, theatres, and racing venues. The requirement mainly relates to indoor settings.
Encouraging people to get fully vaccinated
Ontario Premier Doug Ford explained the reasoning behind the new measure in light of the ongoing global fight against the Delta variant. He spoke about the government’s commitment to keeping people safe, protecting hospitals, and minimizing disruptions to businesses as much as possible.
the best chance to slow the spread of this virus”
Ford added: “Based on the latest evidence and best advice, COVID-19 vaccine certificates give us the best chance to slow the spread of this virus while helping us to avoid further lockdowns.”
Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott underlined the importance of vaccines in the battle against coronavirus. She called on Ontarians to get fully vaccinated so they can “safely enjoy activities with their loved ones and support their local businesses.”
Other provinces requiring proof of vaccination
According to Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation records, 24 casinos are operating currently in the province. Many of these properties struggled during the pandemic as they dealt with closures and capacity restrictions. In July this year, casinos were able to open their doors once again as part of phase three of Ontario’s reopening plan.
Three other Canadian provinces have already considered similar vaccine passport rules for those seeking entry into facilities such as casinos. Quebec implemented the requirement on September 1, while Manitoba and British Columbia recently announced plans for similar measures. British Columbia has 34 casino establishments, Quebec has ten, and Manitoba eight.