Casino Rama all-in to reopen next week, ‘optimistic’ about plans
“We are very happy to reopen and bring back staff,” said the manager of Gateway Casinos during Monday’s reopening.
Slots, table games and restaurants at Casino Rama are once again ready to entertain customers.
After being closed on Jan. 3 by the Ontario government amid the ramp-up of the Omicron variant, Casino Rama is reopening Monday morning at 50% capacity. Doors will open at 10 a.m.
Robert Mitchell, director of communications and public affairs for Gateway Casinos, which operates Casino Rama and several other casinos, said staff were being called back to work.
The hotel, Simcoe Yard House Pub and St. Germain’s Steakhouse will all be open. The Weirs restaurant will also reopen, but not before February 1.
The central bar remains closed until at least February 21, when alcoholic beverages will again be allowed in the games room. The entertainment center will remain closed until at least March 14, when the Ontario government aims to lift all capacity restrictions.
“We are very happy to reopen and bring staff back,” Mitchell said. “We are confident now that the government has a plan, strategy and architecture in place to open in 21-day increments. We are very optimistic.
Mitchell says he has no headcount on how many employees will return to work and how many will remain laid off until capacity restrictions are fully lifted. He says some staff have taken jobs in other locations during the shutdowns.
“We have tried to maintain communication with our staff through our human resources department,” he said. “I can only assume it has been very difficult for everyone in the hospitality industry, in retail and in the economy as a whole. It has been a very stressful time and a time of great uncertainty for everyone.
Tshweu Moleme, a Unifor union representative at the casino, said staff, who have faced multiple layoffs over the past 22 months, are eager to get back to work.
“The members I talk to are frustrated, but hopeful too,” Moleme said.
Employees “just want to see a return to normal working days and lives for them and their families, without fear of work stoppages, workplace outbreaks, job loss, etc. things are so unpredictable right now, and you can imagine what it must be like, especially for those who are used to routine, who rely on their work to survive day to day, etc. People want stability “, did he declare.
“Workers also want Casino Rama to continue to be number one in Canada, with top-notch staff,” Moleme said.
“We are all praying that this painful time we are going through will pass, so that we can get back to work – paying the bills, putting bread and butter on our tables at home.”
Mitchell says the closures have also been difficult for customers, who are eager to return to normal life.
“The acceptance of the vaccine and the public’s enthusiasm for getting a third booster shot shows the public’s desire to do everything possible to get back to normal,” he said.
“I think people want to be entertained, they want to enjoy casinos and watch live sporting events in restaurants and bars. We have the Super Bowl coming up and Valentine’s Day. There are so many reasons to want to go out and have fun.
–With files by Dave Dawson