Ontario lifts casino capacity limits, vaccine mandates to follow

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on February 14 that the province is lifting all casino capacity limits starting at 12:01 a.m. on February 17, three days ahead of schedule.

Mandatory proof of vaccination for casino guests will then be scrapped from March 1, assuming that health indicators continue to improve. That will see Ontario follow provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan in lifting its proof of vaccination mandates for all settings.

Last month, Ontario released its plan to lift public health measures and restrictions, a framework that had included reopening gaming centres in the province at 50 per cent of casino capacity from January 31.

Noting that COVID-19 positivity rates and new hospital admissions have fallen week over week, signalling that “the Omicron peak is behind us”, Ford has now brought forward the date for moving to the next stage.

Masking requirements will remain in place at this time, with a specific timeline to lift this measure to be communicated at a later date.

RELATED: Quebec casinos will reopen on February 28

Ontario casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming centres had previously been shut down once again on January 5. That closure had been the latest in a long line, with casinos having previously been shut in spring 2020 and then again in the winter of 2020-21.

From February 17, they will be able to enjoy unrestricted operation for the first time since late October.

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