Niagara Falls Casinos to Stay Closed; Casino Staff in BC Angry at Ongoing Lockdown5th October 2020 |
October 8 will only bring with it the reopening of Caesars Windsor casino as other casinos in the region are planning on keeping their doors shut, at least for the time being. Niagara Falls Casinos President Richard Taylor has confirmed that both Niagara Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara will remain closed.
Caesars Windsor reopens
Caesars Windsor is making in-person gaming available again, but only to a select few individuals who will be invited by email and must confirm their attendance. This will be done to allow Caesars Rewards members to be the first to experience gaming in a casino venue again after being shut down for more than six months, while still adhering to the 50-person cap imposed in Ontario.
To ensure the patrons and employees’ safety, only slot machines will be available while table games will remain off-limits, and players will be restricted to two gaming sessions a day, between 10 am and 2 am. Additionally, other amenities like the casino hotel, bars and restaurants will be closed. Every person inside the venue, whether employee or player, will have to wear a mask, with all employees having their temperature checked before each shift.
It has already been two months since the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation revealed that casinos can reopen with a limit of 50 players at all times. Because of this, some casino operators decided not to open since doing so with such a stringent limit would result in further financial losses. Among these Niagara Falls casinos are Niagara Casinos, who has announced that reopening is unsustainable.
Casino Niagara is around 95,000 square feet while Niagara Fallsview Casino is about 200,000 square feet, so reopening for only 50 individuals would not generate enough revenue to cover running costs and employees’ wages. Mr Taylor has said that reopening is still under evaluation while they see “if we can support the reopening of our business in this limited way.” The operators could potentially be waiting for Ontario authorities to announce the fourth phase of the business reopening plan, in the hopes that the cap would be increased. That way all the Niagra Falls casinos could viably open their doors again.
Niagara Falls casinos employees left out once more
However, this leaves more than 4,000 Niagara falls casinos employees furloughed, with no idea when they will be allowed to return to work. The president of Niagara Casinos has confirmed that these workers have been on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave since March so that they can access benefits from the Federal Government, but he would not confirm how many others have been laid off since then. His answer to this question was that the operators’ commitment “remains to re-open our properties and to return our associates to work as soon as we are able to do so safely and responsibly.”
A similar situation is currently being experienced in View Royal, British Columbia, where all casinos and gaming halls have been closed since the beginning of the lockdown on March 16.
Furthermore, there are no plans to reopen as Mayor David Screech reiterated that the locals’ health remains their top priority. The reason he gave was that most of the casino-goers in View Royal fell in the vulnerable-category so it is important not to place them at risk.
The flip side of this is millions of dollars being lost in revenue which would otherwise be allocated to projects in the community. Casino staff are also becoming increasingly worried about their future. There seems no end on the horizon to what have already been months of uncertainty, with some of the employees describing the situation as unfair and unjust.
Great Canadian Gaming Corporation oversees two casinos in British Columbia, and when given the green light by BC Lottery Corporation, will be set to reopen with a comprehensive health and safety plan.
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