With COVID-19 cases rising all across Canada, provincial governments are taking action by placing new health and safety restrictions on casinos in their respective regions.
Just over 11,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported across Canada Tuesday, with Quebec and Ontario accounting for just over 8,500 of those cases. There are now nearly 73,000 active cases and the death toll in the country due to the virus has surpassed 30,000.
According to the Canadian Gaming Association, there are 114 casinos in Canada, along with 200 permanent bingo halls and community gaming centers, that employ roughly 183,000 people.
Here’s a look at some of the new provincial casino restrictions across Canada:
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube announced the immediate closure of all casinos this past Monday. Half of the hospital beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients in the province are now occupied, prompting the provincial government to take more drastic COVID measures. VLTs, bingo, and bar games are also now temporarily shut down in the province. The closures will affect roughly 2,300 employees, who are now being reassigned to customer service roles with Loto-Quebec across the province. The announcement comes just days after a COVID outbreak was declared at Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec, which borders on Canada’s national capital, Ottawa.
The Ontario government is forcing casinos in the province to cut capacity by 50% and patrons will not be allowed to eat or drink while gambling on the casino floor. However, on-site restaurants will be open for business, albeit at half capacity. Face coverings are mandatory, and only those with two doses of an approved vaccine are allowed inside the premises.
An important update for our guests. pic.twitter.com/15oz9xcC5O
— Fallsview Casino Resort (@fallsviewcasino) December 17, 2021
Premier Jason Kenney is ready to implement some new COVID measures to the Restrictions Exemption Program beginning Dec. 24. Casinos will be limited to 50% capacity and there will be some limitations on food and drink availability. Proof of vaccination and masks are mandatory for entry.
British Columbia Premier John Horgan announced a number of new COVID restrictions Tuesday, but casinos will remain open and operate at 50% capacity. Patrons must be double-vaccinated and masked in order to gain entry.
These are difficult actions to take when people are looking forward to being around family and friends over the holidays.
But as COVID-19 cases continue to rapidly increase, we must enact stronger measures to help protect people and ensure our health care system is there for us. pic.twitter.com/6ZOAZVWB8A
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) December 21, 2021
Casino Nova Scotia and First Nations gaming centers can operate at 50% capacity. All gaming establishments must stop dine-in service at 11 p.m. and close by midnight local time. Proof of vaccination and masks are required.
Casinos will be required to cut capacity to 50% before midnight on Dec. 27, as the province moves into Level 2 COVID restrictions. Proof of vaccination and masks are required.
Manitoba’s casinos are also operating at 50% capacity and require masks and proof of vaccination.