'There's just no sound science that justifies re-opening Walmarts, gyms and restaurants while at the same time keeping the casinos closed'
If gyms and restaurants can open, why can’t casinos?
So says Unifor in calling on the provinces to safely re-open casinos and gaming operations under the same sound public health protocols that guided re-openings in other sectors of the economy.
"Enough is enough — it's time to safely re-open casinos so gaming workers can get back to work and support their families," says Jerry Dias, Unifor national president. "There's just no sound science that justifies re-opening Walmarts, gyms and restaurants while, at the same time, keeping the casinos closed. There's no logic behind the decision, and it's placing a perfectly legal sector in jeopardy."
"Casinos and gaming workers are being left behind," says Dias. "We have reviewed the comprehensive plans our employers have submitted to government to make sure guests and workers are kept healthy and safe. With these enhanced measures in place, our members want to get back to work and help our economy get back on its feet."
Unifor represents nearly 9,000 gaming workers at casinos, racetracks, and lotteries across Canada.
Casinos remain closed under government order in a number of jurisdictions, including British Columbia and parts of Ontario, says the union. In March, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) announced the closure of all casinos in the province. The closure remains even though gaming is a highly regulated sector and operators are already required to follow strict government-mandated parameters, according to the union.
Meanwhile, Alberta declared casino tables safe to reopen on Sept. 3, a week after the province predicted a $900-million loss of gaming revenue due to COVID-19 closures, according to a CTV News report. Casinos across the province were ordered closed on March 17 and remained shut until slots were allowed to resume on June 12,.
Back in June, Unifor also expressed disappointment that many grocery chains had ended pandemic pay for workers.