Casino Rama primed to reopen to the public Thursday morning with a few COVID-related changes

"The blackjack dealers are a little bit rusty."

After months of wait, Casino Rama is ready to deal you in.

The Orillia-area gaming centre will reopen to the public on Thursday, July 29, after being closed for over 16 months. When patrons re-enter Casino Rama, they’ll notice a bit of a difference. That includes sanitization stations throughout the gaming area. “You will see a lot of those on the floor,” Rob Mitchell, Director of Public Affairs for Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, told Barrie 360. “There are plexiglass dividers, particularly at the table games. You will see them at some of the slots, and some of the slots are separated for a social distancing of two meters.”

“Those will be the things that will be noticeable, but we’re really striving to make it as enjoyable an experience as possible,” he added. Patrons will be required to provide contact tracing information upon entry.

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Mitchell says staff have been in the facility for a few weeks now, brushing up on COVID-related rules and getting in some much-needed practice. “The blackjack dealers are a little bit rusty. It’s been 16 months since they’ve been professionally dealing a deck of cards, so they were getting their game on,” he said, adding staff were just happy to be around each other once again. “It was a bit like a homecoming, something of a reunion because a whole bunch of us have not seen each other for a very long time.”

While the casino’s gaming floor will reopen Thursday, there won’t be many other familiar amenities available right away. “We’re opening in phases. The first phase is the gaming floor. And then the second phase will be the hotel,” he said, hoping to have the hotel reopened by mid-August. The entertainment centre and all the concerts it brings should reopen in the fall. “A lot will depend on how the pandemic continues, and there’s lots of reasons to be optimistic.”

Casino Rama reopens to the public at 10 a.m., Thursday, July 29, 2021.