Ontario’s Casino Rama Resort has no set timeline for reopening

Ontario’s Casino Rama Resort has no set timeline for reopening

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited has announced its decision to keep its Ontario-based Casino Rama Resort closed until such time there is a ‘sufficient business case’ to resume operations.

The gambling and entertainment destination, which has been shuttered for more than a couple of months under Premier Doug Ford’s closure order issued in March as part of the government’s efforts to control the spread of the deadly corona virus, was expected to resume operations this Friday. Earlier this week, Mr. Ford announced that the province would enter the stage 3 of the government’s reopening plan on Friday, allowing non-essential businesses like casinos to reopen.

However, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment indicated that its Casino Rama Resort would not resume operations anytime soon. The company also indicated that it decided not to reopen the facility because of adverse business conditions created by the COVIID-19 pandemic that has already claimed more than half a million lives across the world. It may be noted here that casinos are being allowed to resume operations with a string of strict guidelines and precautionary measures in place.

Announcing the decision, the casino operator said, “We will not be opening a site such as Casino Rama until such time there is a sufficient business case to do so, given the capacity and other restrictions imposed on us. Right now we have no set timeline for re-opening. We will be focusing our efforts on reopening plans for our sites where the restrictions of 50 customers are feasible.”

Rob Mitchell, a spokesperson for the casino operator, said they were excited at the opportunity to resume operations following months-long closure of their facility but were required to carefully appraise the situation and business conditions before deciding to reopen.

The long list of COVID-19 restrictions and precautionary measures issued by the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) includes indoor capacity limit of 50 customers, arrangement for hand sanitizer, and sanitization of the entire property, especially of high-traffic areas like registration desks and escalators. In addition, face masks have been made mandatory for both employees and guests, and casino operators are required make arrangements for special COVID-19 health training of their workers as well.

Industry experts are of the view that all COVID-19 restrictions are apparently acceptable to casinos, except the provincial government’s current limit of 50 guests which doesn’t provide for a viable business model for large resort-style casinos.