Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara have invested more than $1 million to ensure a secure opening. Mayor Jim Diodati of Niagara Falls has been advocating the province to reconsider the province’s 50-person limit for casinos, suggesting that a percentage of patrons would be a better approach.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara in Ontario one year ago on Tuesday.
Niagara Casinos has stayed closed for the past year, although other businesses have reopened. Despite the fact that the two Niagara Falls sites have been prepared to operate safely in a COVID-19 environment, provincial regulations limit casinos to 50 people at a time. Casino and political officials claimed that reopening the two casinos, which can typically handle 11,000 people at a time, for just 50 people is not worth it.
Richard Taylor, president of Niagara Casinos, as reported by Niagara Falls Review said that “Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara do not have a confirmed reopening date. We continue to work with the Canadian Gaming Association, Ontario Lottery and Gaming, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, Niagara Region Public Health and emergency services, and infectious disease prevention experts on our reopening plans.”
The constraints of a 50-person limit and the prohibition of table games, according to Taylor, “do not support the reopening of our business. With expansive casino properties, over 200,000 square feet of gaming floor at Fallsview Casino Resort, and over 95,000 square feet at Casino Niagara, we are focused on ensuring our reopening plans support the long-term sustainability of our business and that our health and safety protocols are based on science and medical evidence to support the health and safety of our workforce and customers.”
Taylor added that “Even during this difficult year, we were reminded of how incredible our associates are as they continued to support our community with a holiday food drive and countless hours of volunteer work. We are greatly looking forward to the day that we can welcome back our great people and anticipate that our full-time and part-time associates will return as we are able to reopen the properties.”
Mayor Jim Diodati of Niagara Falls has been urging the province to reconsider the province’s 50-person casino limit, suggesting that a percentage of patrons based on the size of the facility would be a better approach. Diodati said he visited the casinos and was impressed with the security measures in place.
He said that “They spent over $1 million making it ready in a safe way. They’re just saying, ‘What would it take?’ and they’re not getting any answers. It’s maddening. If there was a percentage, at least we could justify it, we could understand it, and work toward it.”
Allowing casinos to reopen with more capacity, according to Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Niagara’s acting medical officer of health, is “really a decision” of the provincial government.