Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada is welcoming back its casinos. Fallsview Casino and Resort and Casino Niagara, both operated by Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, reopened last month, but only Fallsview launched round-the-clock operations. Casino Niagara limited its capacity and operating hours, as well as the gaming options it offered. The casino has now extended its hours and brought back to life table games, but for how long is uncertain. Ontario is suffering once again from COVID-19, and the threat of new health restrictions hangs over the province.
Casino Niagara Comes Back to Life
Casinos across Canada started returning to life a little more than a month ago, most with limited capacities and operating hours. In Ontario, Fallsview threw open its door and welcomed guests at all times of the day or night, and had plenty of options awaiting its patrons. Casino Niagara, however, only opened from 10 AM to 2 AM and limited the gaming equipment and tables. Earlier this month, it decided to wade deeper and opened 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but some gaming options were still left out.
Casino Niagara has now brought back live table games, including poker and blackjack, with the casino asserting last week, “Limited live table games will be available from noon to 4 am daily.” However, in accordance with Ontario’s health restrictions, capacities at both of the casinos will remain capped at 50% for the time being. Some amenities, including limited dining options, have been brought back at both, as well, but live entertainment remains off the table, as well as the stage.
COVID-19 Creeps Back into Canada
Last week, health officials in Ontario decided not to even think about relaxing COVID-19 restrictions for now, which means the casinos won’t be able to increase their capacities anytime soon. This is because, like what is being seen in other areas around the world, the reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases seen a couple of months ago may have been nothing more than a chance for the coronavirus to get its second wind. New spikes are being reported everywhere, including across Canada. This is making recovery efforts more challenging and the thought of having to once again wear a mask and be locked up inside their homes has everyone more than a little stressed.
According to recent data out of Ontario, there were 722 new cases reported yesterday. It’s the highest mark since early June, despite over 20.5 million vaccines having been administered since the province started handing out the shots. That equates to about 82.2% of the eligible population receiving their first shot, with less than 10 million being completely vaccinated. As of last Wednesday, according to publicly gathered data, there are 145,705 confirmed cases in the province of the Alpha variant, 1,496 cases of the Beta variant, 5,206 cases of the Gamma variant and 6,656 cases of the Delta variant. If increases continue to be seen, it’s likely that the casinos will face renewed and stricter health policies.