While casino properties across the country are hoping to open soon, these openings will likely need to involve notable precautions for the safety of both staff and patrons. For example, when casinos in Nevada reopen their doors, occupancies will be cut in half, nightclub will stay closed, and gamblers will need to maintain safe distance from other patrons. Guidelines issued by the state did not have a clear opening date as of yet, but casino operators will be required to create and implement detailed plans for sanitizing all high touch objects within their establishment such as menus, door handles, escalator rails, and game seats at least a week in advance to opening. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will also need to be available to patrons and casino staff, and guidelines state that property owners must provide protective masks, gloves, or face shields if they require them.
In Atlantic City, NJ, casinos have been hard at work disinfecting their properties and are similarly discussing plans for reopening, with the off-the-record consensus largely being that it will be a gradual and phased reopening process. Determining what these plans will look like has been a topic of conversation amongst executives, and much has gone into discussing crucial topics such as what occupancy limits will be, the possibility of dealers- and perhaps patrons, wearing masks, and what services can be provided in the initial states of reopening. This is true of Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut as well where plans are currently being discussed to temperature check patrons upon entering the casino, increase access to sanitizer and wipes, only have occupants at every other machine to maintain social distancing, and implement usage of plexiglass partitions between dealers and players.
One thing that remains clear amidst talks of reopening casinos is that, while casino workers across the country are eager to return to work, they are unified in wanting the deep cleaning methods, protective equipment, and social distancing policies proposed by states to be provided when casinos unlock their doors. Union leaders from Las Vegas, Atlantic City, New Orleans, and Mississippi have called for casinos to provide testing to workers before returning for reopening, while Unite Here and the Culinary Workers Union have laid out health and safety protocols meant to protect staff and patrons.
The casino industry’s trade group, The American Gaming Association, has stated that logistics for reopening vary from state to state but the commitment that casinos have to the safety and well-being of team members and guests remains consistent across the board. It may still be some time before guests are arm-in-arm with each other at the tables or partying at nightclubs at their maximum capacity, however, casinos across the country are optimistic about their future and ready to have the conversation about what will be needed to safely reopen in the meantime.