Government Gives Ontario Horse Racing Greater Freedom

Ontario racetracks are in for a treat, as the future appears to be bright for them. The Government of Ontario recently issued new guidelines taking care of capacity limits for these locations. Indoor and outdoor settings including horse racetracks are now allowed to welcome patrons at 100 percent capacity and make up for the past months of limitations.

October 8 was a special day for the gaming and horse racing industry of the province of Ontario, as it witnessed the lifting of capacity limits in some venues. Proof of vaccination is required in select indoor and outdoor settings. The move was thoroughly consulted with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, keeping in mind public health and health care indicators.

New Capacity

The new announcement also relates to outdoor settings that have a capacity below 20,000. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, made it clear that the number of individuals receiving the shot has been steadily growing and the overall number surpasses 22 million doses. This growth gives the Government of Ontario peace of mind and the confidence to make a move.

Effective October 9, capacity limits were lifted at concert venues, theatres, and cinemas. Spectator areas of facilities for sports and recreational fitness are also allowed to work at 100-percent capacity, but this does not include gyms. Personal training is also not included in this limit lift. When it comes to indoor meeting and event spaces, those will still need to limit capacity to the number that can maintain physical distancing.

Horseracing tracks, car racing tracks, and other similar venues are also included in the recent announcement directly affecting the province of Ontario. Within the province, horse racing fans frequent Woodbine Racetrack, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Ajax Downs, Flamboro Downs, Fort Erie Race Track, Georgian Downs, Kawartha Downs, Rideau Carleton Raceway, Clinton Raceway, Dresden Raceway, Hanover Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park, Leamington Raceway, and Western Fair District.

What’s to Come?

These settings will have to keep all other safety measures when it comes to the health and work of staff members. Individuals will still need to wear face masks, go through regular screening and have their information collected for contact tracing. Maintaining physical distance is no longer necessary, according to the Government, even though there are several locations that will still need to implement this safety measure.

Horse racetracks have been receiving the support of the province ever since the beginning of the unprecedented situation. They receive financial support coming straight from Ontario’s provincial government. Some CA$3 million boost the provincial racetracks on an annual basis, supporting their operation during these trying times. This will happen with the help of the amended Long-Term Funding Agreement that was first introduced in the spring of 2019.

In the meantime, land-based casinos in Ontario continue their operation with restrictions when it comes to the number of patrons accepted. The new Ontario vaccine passport program implemented on September 22 allows players to enter casinos with proof of vaccination in paper form or a PDF file from their phone. QR codes will be ready on October 22.

Source: “Ontario Racetrack Capacity Limits Lifted“, StandardbredCanada, October 8, 2021

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Yolina has followed closely the latest development on the Canadian gaming scene over the past years, monitoring the land-based, lottery, and online offerings up for grabs. The dynamic nature of the local lottery and casino fields, as well as the opportunities lying ahead of Canada fire her enthusiasm for what is to come. A sports betting enthusiast, in her spare time Yolina could be found in her natural habitat – turning the pages of biographies and catching up on the latest stand-up comedy podcasts.