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Some casinos in Pennsylvania plan to reopen their doors on January 4, following a mandatory three-week shutdown of their gaming operations ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf (D).
Wolf yesterday confirmed that casinos will be permitted to resume gaming business on Monday at 8 am ET. Casinos can open up their gaming floors and welcome in guests by up to 50 percent occupancy of their listed fire code.
“Our efforts over the past several weeks are working,” Wolf declared. “We’ve begun to flatten the curve of new cases. But we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Twelve of Pennsylvania’s 13 brick-and-mortar casinos can reopen on Monday. Rivers Philadelphia, however, cannot, as the casino is under a city order to remain closed through at least January 15.
Casinos Committed to Safety
Pennsylvania casino operators have invested tens of millions of dollars to equip their gaming spaces with various safeguards to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Casinos have installed plexiglass barriers between slot machines and seats at table games, purchased temperature scanning equipment, built hand washing stations, rearranged slot banks, and trained employees with coronavirus best practices. Casinos also have complex air ventilation systems.
“I want to assure our employees, customers, and business partners that we will be ready to reopen — safely — at 8:01 am,” Parx Casino CEO Eric Hausler said this week in an op-ed published in the Bucks County Courier Times.
Live! Casino Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s first so-called satellite casino, only commenced operations in November. It was forced to close less than a month into its existence. The casino, located inside the Westmoreland Mall, will also reopen at 8 am on Monday.
Opening January 4
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Hollywood Penn National
- Live! Pittsburgh
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
- Mount Airy
- Rivers Pittsburgh
- The Meadows
- Valley Forge
- Wind Creek Bethlehem
Presque Island Downs & Casino says it will reopen on January 5, while Lady Luck Nemacolin is delaying its reopening until January 8. Rivers Philadelphia, as mentioned, is closed through January 15.
Casinos Remain Frustrated
Casinos certainly weren’t happy to be grouped into general indoor entertainment and forced to close earlier this month. They unsuccessfully pleaded with the governor to reopen.
We have invested millions of dollars to make changes to our facility and to train employees on how to enforce the protocols that have been mandated by the state Department of Health. The fact is we have exceeded these mandates in our effort to keep employees and guests safe,” Hausler pronounced. “Despite these efforts, Parx has been closed since December 12, along with the state’s other 13 casinos, as a result of the latest COVID-19 mitigation measures ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf.”
Hausler went on to say that the Pennsylvania gaming industry was disappointed with Wolf’s orders because it believes casinos are some “of the safest environments for workers and guests anywhere in the state.”
On Monday, casinos guests will still need to undergo temperature screenings prior to entry, wear face masks, practice social distancing, and refrain from smoking indoo.