aesars Windsor has announced that it will reopen to select members for the first time since March, as Ontario deals with a second wave of coronavirus cases and health officials advise against large gatherings for Thanksgiving weekend.
"This will be one of the safest places ... in the City of Windsor," Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said.
Under the province's Stage 3 reopening guidelines, casinos are able to open as long as they set a 50 guest limit, CBC News reports. Despite Windsor-Essex having moved into Stage 3 on Aug. 12, the casino chose to wait before reopening. Caesars Windsor typically holds 10,000 people and employs more than 2,000 people in the region.
"Our first goal is to get our members back to work and we've been out of work now six and a half months. There is a ton of protocols in place, more protocols than you would find at Costco, at a grocery store or anywhere else, we have way more things implemented inside the casino than I have seen anywhere out in public," Unifor Local 444 chairperson Dana Dunphy told CBC News Wednesday.
She said about 200 workers have been called back to work at the casino on a seniority basis. After 30 days, workers who have not been recalled can start bumping if they have more seniority.
Casino says it has implemented a number of precautions to prevent against the spread of COVID-19, including:
"The reopening of Caesars tomorrow is a good first step but it's a really tiny step," Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said, adding he hopes this will allow the province to feel more comfortable in allowing more people back into the facility.
Dilkens said he speaks with the president of Caesars on a weekly basis and has also had meetings with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Based on these conversations and the measures the casino has implemented, Dilkens said he's not concerned with the reopening.
"I know the extent that they've gone through to keep people safe. Certainly it's by invitation only so there will be plenty of contact tracing and they're able because of the size of that facility to keep everyone far enough apart to make it practically possible to allow 50 people in the door," he said. "Whether they can make money that's another story."
The casino provides the city with $12 million in revenue annually, according to Dilkens, who said that loss has been one of many that has contributed to Windsor's large operating deficit.
The casino will be open for 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day and guests must have received an invitation and scheduled their time in advance. Only slot machines will be available for use.
Caesars has operated the Windsor casino and resort since 2008.