Pennsylvania Casinos Heightens COVID-19 Measures In Reopening
The regulating body plans to introduce heightened health and safety measures, including mandatory wearing of masks inside the casinos, spaced-out slot machines, and restrictions of poker rooms.
Casinos to reopen after ‘green phase’ of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan
Lena Natalia, an organizer of trips for seniors from the Penn Hills Senior Center to the Rivers Casino and The Meadows, said that some of their clients want to go back to the casinos. However, Casinos in Pennsylvania will remain close until Pennsylvania reaches the “green phase” of its reopening plan. Ms. Natalia expressed how excited the seniors are upon hearing the reopening.
Casinos in the country halted operations starting March 15, following government mandate for citizens to stay at home because of the spread of the COVID-19 pathogen. In March, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration ordered citizens to avoid unnecessary travel in March and suspended large gatherings and events, including recreational activities like gyms, movie theatres, shopping malls, and casinos.
Heightened health and safety measures were imposed
The regulating body demanded all patrons of the casino to wear masks that covered the nose and mouth and discouraged them from wearing hats inside the gambling venue. The casinos need to secure that social distancing is practiced inside the casino by placing markings on the floor and maintaining a six-foot distance between gamblers.
Social distancing is also required in slot machines. Casinos need to install a plexiglass barrier between machines and remove chairs, some machines or turn off some machines to ensure the distance between the players. Also, they are mandated to supply sanitizing wipes available for players to clean the machines before playing.
Casinos are asked to ensure a safe distance between players in their table games. They are restricted from operating casino rooms because of the game’s nature, which requires the passing of cards and other items, which is proof of virus transmission. The regulating body said that poker rooms are still subject to re-examination based on the guidance set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The guidelines also require social distancing to be practiced in sports wagering areas. The casinos should mark the floors that maintain a distance of six feet between the patrons. Masks, gloves, or installed plexiglass barriers are required for ticket writers at the ticket counter. The new guidelines required gambling venues to halt services of valet services until further notice.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Doug Harbach said that plexiglass would serve as a division between dealers and gamers. Kevin O’Toole, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, said that they believe the plan will be useful in mitigating and reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for all employees, patrons, and other guests.
He noted that the guidelines for casino operations would be subject to amendments as Pennsylvania moves closer to a reopening time. He also recognized the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the state’s casino industry.
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