Late Friday afternoon, the Ontario government announced it is removing capacity limits for indoor concert venues.
That's music to the ears of Robert Mitchell, the director of communications and public affairs for Gateway Casinos, which operates Casino Rama and several other casinos.
“Obviously, this is exciting news for us. We want to make it happen as soon as possible, but there are no firm dates,” he said.
“There are a lot of moving parts to this, we need to find out what talent is out there and when we can bring them to the venue. For a long time now entertainers themselves have been evaluating where they can play and under what restrictions.”
Mitchell says Gateway Casinos is ready to start the process of creating a line-up of talent who can perform at Casino Rama, but there are going to be many challenges ahead for the venue.
“Restaurants are still limited to 50 percent, and casinos are limited to 50 percent, so, we have accommodations in our gaming floor and restaurants who are still under these hard caps,” he explained.
Mitchell noted Casino Rama's entertainment centre has 5,000 seats.
"We are still limited on the gaming floor to approximately 1,200 players," said Mitchell. "I’m sure when we open for concerts people will want to go on the gaming floor and enjoy all the restaurants. So, there will be some challenges."
Mitchell says Gateway is keeping a close eye on the Ontario government's next move and remain hopeful it will include the removal of capacity limits for restaurants and the gaming floor.
“It’s difficult to justify an acceptance for a sporting event when you can sit side by side, but you have to be six feet or two metres apart at slot machines," he said.
"That is a question we have, and we are looking for an answer. Hopefully, those restrictions will be relaxed sooner rather than later."
When it comes to the staff shortages across the sector, Mitchell says the casino plans to recall some of their staff to help facilitate the reopening of the entertainment centre, but he can’t speculate if they will have enough staff to host concerts and events at this time.
"I was there on Sunday as a guest and I received excellent service. I didn't notice any interruptions at all. In fact, I was extremely impressed with the facility and particularly the cleanliness," he said.
"The staff there are doing a wonderful job, and I had a great time."