US Casinos Unveil Reopening Plans

As countries around the world look at easing lockdown measures implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, US casinos have begun to unveil plans for reopening while implementing security guidelines for their staff and guests.

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

The ‘Responsible Hospitality’ programme seeks to tackle entertainment service procedures involving casino poker, food and drink services, restaurants, shopping, tennis, and live entertainment events.

Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses explained: “How we move forward from this pandemic will be a part of our legacy.

“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 both guests and employees for physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and sanitisation and non-invasive temperature screening. Additional measures include limited operating hours, restrictions on occupancy and the required use by all of the masks.

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

Mark Fulton, COO of Cherokee Nation Entertainment said: “The ‘Responsible Hospitality’ plan was designed to be a fluid, evolving program that addresses the needs of now, while working toward the future.

“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 Company announced its intention to restart operations at seven Louisiana and Mississippi properties today, awaiting final regulatory approvals.

Three of its Louisiana properties are scheduled to reopen: 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.

Boyd Gaming expects to launch its two extra properties in Louisiana, Amelia Belle Casino and Sam’s Town Shreveport the next week.

Keith Smith, president and chief executive officer of Boyd Gaming said: “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.

“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, ‘Boyd Clean’ will be practiced, a set of ‘in-depth protocols’ aimed at protecting the health and safety of its employees and guests.

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

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

“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 – Mississippi’s Gulf Coast have also announced its plans to open via official social media accounts today (May 21).

The Brief 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 he will be allowed to open horse racing tracks in New York and Watkins Glen International Racetrack without fans from June 1.

He said: “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.

“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 planned guidelines on how to safely reopen what will be released in the ‘coming weeks.’

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

The resorts will follow the safety guidelines set out from the CDC and Oregon Health Authority ‘s advice which includes:

  • 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 sanitisers 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.