Casinos continue to roll-out ‘phased reopenings’ under safety guidance

As countries around the world look at easing lockdown measures implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, casinos have started to unveil plans to reopen whilst implementing safety guidance’s for it staff and guests.

Cherokee Nation Businesses has today, May 20, announced its planned approach to providing a safe environment for guests and employees at its entertainment properties in an attempt to reopen.

The ‘Responsible Hospitality’ plan aims to address entertainment operation protocols including casino gaming, food and beverage offerings, hotels, retail, golf and live entertainment.

“How we move forward from this pandemic will be a part of our legacy,” said Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses. “We intend to emerge confident in the knowledge that we did all we could to implement industry-leading protocols that promote the health and safety of our team members and guests. 

“While the guest experience will be different than before, we will continue to deliver the same first-class hospitality and entertainment our guests have come to know and love.”

The plan outlines procedures for physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and sanitisation, and noninvasive temperature screenings for both guests and employees. Additional measures include limited hours of operation, occupancy restrictions and the required use of masks by all.

Food and beverage offerings under the proposed plan will be available with additional safety measures in place, though buffet-style venues and banquet events will remain temporarily suspended.

“The ‘Responsible Hospitality’ plan was designed to be a fluid, evolving program that addresses the needs of now, while working toward the future,” said Mark Fulton, COO of Cherokee Nation Entertainment. “We look forward to revising, streamlining and implementing improved measures as we progress toward a more resilient future and returning our properties, amenities and services to full operation.”

Boyd Gaming Corporation has announced its plans to resume operations today at seven properties in Louisiana and Mississippi, pending final regulatory approvals.

The reopenings are planned for three of its Louisiana properties: Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel and Treasure Chest Casino with its two Mississippi properties, IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi and Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Tunica, opening tomorrow, May 21.

The following week, Boyd Gaming plans to open its two additional properties in Louisiana, Amelia Belle Casino and Sam’s Town Shreveport.

“As we begin the process of reopening our properties nationwide, the health and safety of our customers, our team members and our communities will be our highest priority,” said Keith Smith, president and chief executive officer of Boyd Gaming.  “Across the country, we are implementing comprehensive safety protocols approved by local, state and federal health officials. 

“We are optimistic that we will be able to reopen most of our properties over the next several weeks, and we look forward to offering our guests a safe and enjoyable entertainment experience.”

Upon reopening all Boyd Gaming properties will practice ‘Boyd Clean’, a set of ‘comprehensive protocols’ aimed at protecting the health and safety of its employees and guests. 

MGM Resorts is another that has announced the reopening of its Mississippi properties, with its Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica planned to allow a limited capacity through its doors from May 25, followed by Biloxi’s Beau Rivage Resort and Casino from June 1. Each will host an invitation-only weekend ahead of its public reopening.

“Our hearts are with everyone in our communities, and around the world, who has been personally impacted by this crisis,” said Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts’ ccting CEO and president.

“As we plan to reopen our resorts, the health and safety of our guests and employees guide all of our decision-making. Getting many of our employees back to work and welcoming guests through our doors once again will allow us to do what we do best – entertain. We can’t wait.”

Ameristar Vicksburg and Hollywood Casino – Gulf Coast in Mississippi have also announced its plans to open tomorrow, May 21, through official social media accounts.

The post reads: “We are pleased to announce that we will be opening our doors with limited offerings on Thursday, May 21 at 12pm.

“While we are excited to welcome you back, it is imperative that we create a safe environment for you and our team members. With this in mind, we have been working closely with the Mississippi Gaming Commission and state and local leaders to finalize a comprehensive plan for the reopening of Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast.

“Details of those protocols and additional information on the reopening will be made available here on Facebook and our website in the coming days. We look forward to welcoming you back safely.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that horse racing tracks in New York and Watkins Glen International Racetrack will be allowed to open without fans from June 1.

“What can you do, or what economic activity is willing to reopen without a crowd, right? They’re talking about this in terms of sports. You’re going to have baseball without a crowd but it can still be televised – great,” Cuomo said. “If you can have economic activity without a crowd, that’s great. We can do that in this state with horse racing tracks, and we’re going to do that. 

“There will be guidelines for the actual participants, but no crowds, no fans. But for the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that can still work. That is also true with Watkins Glen, that can operate and there’s a big viewership for Watkins Glen.”

The state has scheduled guidance on how it can reopen safely which will be released in the ‘coming weeks’.

Following directions from the Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians of Oregon Tribal Council the Three Rivers Casino and Resort in Oregon will reopen on May 22.

The resorts will be following safety guidelines out in place from the advice of the CDC and Oregon Health Authority which include: 

  • Temperature checks and required wearing of masks for both guests and team members. Guests are asked to bring their own masks.
  • Points of entry will be limited to the main doors; all other doors are for exit only.
  • The casino gaming floor will be open with limited hours, 7am to 3am in Florence and 7am to 2am in Coos Bay
  • Restaurants will be opened with limited seating, and service will end at 10pm daily.
  • The casino floor has been rearranged for social distancing and many hand sanitizers are provided throughout all areas.
  • Every day during the hours the casino is closed, every guest touch point will be deep cleaned.
  • The casino has purchased several cordless electrostatic sprayers to use to clean and sterilise hotel rooms, the casino gaming floor, restaurants and office spaces.