Pennsylvania COVID mitigation efforts to close casinos until 2021

Land-based casino gaming operations throughout Pennsylvania are to be suspended until next year, after governor Tom Wolf and secretary of health Dr Rachel Levine unveiled new COVID protective mitigation efforts.

The limited-time orders take effect at 12:01am on December 12, and will remain in effect until 8am on January 4, 2021, with Yale and Harvard studies highlighted as substantiating the Keystone State’s latest efforts.

Under the order, gaming operations will cease at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Lady Luck Nemacolin, Live! Casino Pittsburgh, Meadows Casino and Racetrack, Mohegan Sun Pocono, Mount Airy Casino Resort, Parx Casino, Presque Isle Racetrack and Casino, Rivers Pittsburgh, Valley Forge Casino and Resort, and Wind Creek Bethlehem.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia had already closed on November 20 in accordance with an order from the City of Philadelphia.

Kevin O’Toole, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board executive director, said that public health and safety of patrons, casino employees and others are of paramount importance: 

“The board is continuously monitoring developments and will update licensees and the public as frequently as possible with any new developments,”he added.

The wide-ranging measures introduce a plethora of prohibitions throughout the region, including all in-person indoor dining, indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 persons, outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 persons, and indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities.

All in-person businesses in the entertainment industry serving the public within a building or indoor defined area, including, but not limited to, casinos, theatres, concert venues, museums, movie theatres, arcades, bowling alleys, private clubs, and all other similar entertainment, recreational or social facilities, are also prohibited from operation.

Furthermore, all in-person businesses serving the public may only operate at up to 50 per cent of the maximum capacity stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy, except as limited by existing orders to a smaller capacity limit.

“Today I am announcing additional, temporary COVID-19 protective mitigation measures in the commonwealth,” said Wolf. “With these measures in place, we hope to accomplish three goals: First, stop the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. 

“Second, keep our hospitals and health care workers from becoming overwhelmed. And third, help Pennsylvanians get through the holiday season – and closer to a widely available vaccine – as safely as possible. This is a bridge to a better future in Pennsylvania.”