Caesars Windsor casino plans to reopen July 23

Caesars Windsor plans to reopen later this month, when Ontario will be in Step 3 of its reopening plan. The casino has been closed for much of the pandemic, affecting about 2,700 workers.

Casino in southwestern Ontario city has been closed for most of the pandemic

Caesars Windsor casino plans to open under reduced capacity on July 23. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Caesars Windsor, which has been closed for much of the pandemic, plans to reopen later this month, when Ontario will be in Step 3 of its reopening plan. 

The casino on Tuesday announced plans to reopen July 23 at 10 a.m. ET, pending required approvals.

Casino operations will initially be limited to slot machines, and not all food and beverage outlets will be open due to social distancing and capacity requirements, the casino said in a release.

Table games could open as soon as July 28 and more amenities will be added as restrictions allow.

Reservations won't be mandatory, but all guests must registered before entering the casino. Other public health measures are in place, including Plexiglas barriers, COVID-19 screening, masking policies and more.

"As we reopen, the health and safety of our guests and our team members remain our top priority," Kevin Laforet, president of Caesars Windsor, said in a release. "We are optimistic for the future and look forward to providing an exciting entertainment experience for our guests."

The casino's opening will come a week after Ontario enters the third phase of reopening. Under the newly loosened rules, the casino can open at half capacity, meaning it could accommodate 2,500 patrons.

With the exception of a brief, limited reopening in the fall, the casino has been closed since March 2020, putting most of its 2,700 employees out of work. A limited number of employees worked during the pandemic in roles such as security and maintenance. 

According to Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy, who represents about 2,200 workers, about 600 workers are being recalled right away.

Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor local 4-44, which represents about 22-hundred Caesars employees, speaks with Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette about the casino reopening. 7:10

Cassidy, who spoke with CBC Radio's Windsor Morning ahead of the announcement from the casino, said he was disappointed Caesars would only be permitted to operate at half capacity.

"With our numbers, we continue to say we should not have these limitations down here and it should be regionally," he said, referencing the region's low COVID-19 case counts.

Cascades Casino in Chatham has announced plans to reopen at half capacity on July 16. Slots will be available at 10 a.m. while table games start at 6 p.m.

With files from Dale Molnar and Windsor Morning


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