Spirits are on a high at Casino Rama as staff members are delighted to be back, say the owner of the property Gateway Casinos & Entertainment and Unifor local. Despite, the difficult last almost two years, employees at the Ontario gaming property remain cheerful and are smiles after the casino was able to reopen its door for guests on Monday, January 31, 2022.
Due to provincial health and safety concerns, on January 5, 2022, the Government of Ontario entered a modified Step Two of the Business reopening plan. According to which, indoor entertainment venues such as casinos had to close down to at least January 25, 2022. This brief lockdown was in an attempt to stop the spread of the latest variant of the unprecedented situation.
Back in Business
Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, Robert Mitchell shared that guests and employees of Casino Rama are happy to be back in business. He said that besides the recent snowstorm, the mood at the casino is great. He also added that the company is working on the reopening of the venue’s entertainment centre.
While the casino’s amenities such as restaurants and the centre bar have also restarted work with the recent reopening of the property. Additionally, visitors are now allowed to have a beverage with them while on the gaming floor. The company has also informed that over 550 employees returned back to work last week, while 300 remain laid off.
Greg Weaver, Unifor Local 1090 Chairperson and Second Vice President, commented that workers are delighted to return to work. However, he says that despite being back they still feel uncertain about the future and are concerned about more shutdowns. According to him, before the first major lockdown, the union had 1,170 members who are now 853. He predicts that when all restrictions are lifted the casino would look to hire new staff.
Additionally, Mr. Weaver said that the last two years have been very exhausting for staff of the casino, due to the several closures, and that there are still 300 members who are laid off. He also shared that the union is currently negotiating with the casino to help staff members financially during these troublesome times. This includes successfully allowing workers to keep their vacation pay.
Gaming Floor Reorganization
After closing down in March 2020 the casino remained sidelined for almost 17 months. During that time, the company has to make some rearrangements to its gaming floor, in order to prepare for reopening and meet provincial health guidelines. According to the venue, around 400 slot machines and 20 table games were removed, thus allowing enough space to maintain physical distancing between guests.
Live Shows Must Wait
Back in December last, year, the management of Casino Rama announced that due to the new government mandates health and safety protocols, some live shows will be rescheduled. Live performances scheduled for January and February have been postponed. The casino informed that those with tickets can get a refund from the point of purchase. Customers can also keep their tickets for the rescheduled date. The new dates are yet to be announced.
Source: Evans, Tyler “’Very optimistic’: Casino Rama employees ‘excited’ to be back”, Orillia Matters, February 6, 2022