Ontario Casinos Shutter Due To Omicron Spread

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on January 6, 2022 - Last Updated on January 10, 2022
Ontario casinos closed COVID-19

The province Ontario public health reported 11,582 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

According to a tweet from Health Minister Christine Elliott, there are just under 1,300 people currently hospitalized with the virus. A week ago, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was just shy of 500.

As positive coronavirus cases are on the rise again, Premier Doug Ford made a decision earlier this week to reimpose mandates on nonessential businesses, which were among the latest Ontario COVID-19 restrictions.

The premier’s decision includes the closure of casino operations.

Casinos closed until Jan. 26

Starting Wednesday, the government closed schools until Jan. 17, banned indoor dining and cut capacity limits. The province has also closed museums, movie theatres, gyms and other indoor entertainment venues.

The closure also affects indoor casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments across the province and is expected to last until Jan. 26.

“Based on the current trends, our public health experts tell us we could see hundreds of thousands of new omicron cases every single day,” Premier Ford said in a warning issued on Monday. “With roughly one percent of cases ending up in the hospital, this surge could overwhelm our health care system.

“We cannot let this happen.”

The province reached its peak on Saturday, reporting 18,445 new COVID-19 cases.

“As we continue with our provincial vaccine booster efforts, we must look at every option to slow the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant,” Ford said.

“Putting these targeted and time-limited measures in place will give us more opportunity to deliver vaccines to all Ontarians and ensure everyone has maximum protection against this virus.” 

28 casinos affected by the decision

The closure affects 28 land-based casino venues in Ontario. 

Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, which also operates Casino Rama, announced its temporary closure:

“All of our Ontario operations [are] suspended effective Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 12:01 a.m,” said the statement.

Caesars Windsor confirmed it joins the new measures:

“The health and safety of our employees and guests remain a priority and we look forward to welcoming you back at a time when it is safe for our community,” said Kevin Laforet, president of Caesars Windsor, in a statement.

Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara are closing their doors too:

“Niagara Casinos continues to work closely with the Ontario Government and Public Health partners to protect customers and associates against the spread of COVID-19. [We] are currently working through the logistics to implement this closure,” said in their safety update.

Ontario residents still have gambling options

Horse and car racing tracks will remain open, with restrictions. Attendance can be no more than 50% and reservations are mandatory.

Proof of vaccination is still a must for facilities with a capacity of 20,000 or more people.

In the meantime, you can still gamble online in the province using the government’s Proline Plus Ontario app for online gambling. In addition, a huge expansion in Ontario sports betting online operators and online casino apps is coming early this year.

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