Local Ontario gamblers are happy these days; the casinos are reopening after a long pandemic hiatus. Not that it is over! The second wave is hitting the province.
There will be considerable limitations and far fewer slots machines in operation. Plus, rewards club members are the only lucky ones who can make a reservation. However, the good news is that at least a third of casino employees will be back on the job in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.
Casinos have legally been allowed to get back to business since June, but Gateway Casinos, for example, chose the Thanksgiving weekend to re-open
Union President, Albert Williams is leery about this move. He is worried about his staff. Everyone is nervous.
“I would probably wait to see where these numbers are heading. But
that’s not my choice. My choice is to go in there and do my job.”
He adds, “They’re probably getting in the hole and they go to climb themselves out of that hole.” Fran Marcil, union unit chair for Sudbury Downs in Azilda, also states,
“I think the whole world’s nervous right now. We’re trying to
make everyone as comfortable as possible.”
Marcil noted that his members are excited to get back to work and get their first paycheques since March. Everyone is looking to move forward.
“Any business is worried about the long-term effects.. I’m not a financial genius when it comes to this kind of stuff, but I’m sure Gateway is looking at those numbers as we go.”
New safety procedures are masks for employees, plastic barriers at high traffic spots on the gaming floor and the cleansing of touch points such as slot machine buttons.
In related news, Gateway Casinos is building a new $31 million facility in North Bay. While the opening has been delayed, it is in process.