Phase One of the casino reopening guidelines are now in the hands of Mississippi casino operators, and the race is on to prepare for Thursday’s reopening.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission announced recently that gaming operations would be allowed to resume May 21, as long as the properties follow guidelines outlined by the commission. The full document is already posted and you can all go through it, yet we have outlines several the most important points, that are included in the document.
Properties are limited to no greater than 50% occupancy. Points of entry must be limited to allow for guests to be screened.
Guests will be asked the following questions, and if the answer is “yes” they will not be allowed to enter the property:
- Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
- Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
- Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
- Have you had a new loss of taste or smell?
- Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
During the screening, guests will be asked to use hand sanitizer and encouraged to wear a mask (which will be provided by the property) while on property.
- Valet discontinued unless the property has a specific plan
- No entertainment or special event gatherings
- No promotions/table game tournaments
- VIP areas and Poker Rooms will remain closed
- Player’s Club will remain open
- Gyms and spas will be allowed to open under the same rules issued earlier by the state of Mississippi.
- three chair limit per table
- three player max on each side of the dice table
- Staff will sanitize table game rails and chair after a guest leaves
- Six feet between guests
- Slot machines sanitized at least once every four hours
- Slot floor deep cleaned daily
Food & Beverage
- Beverages may be offered to guests on the playing floor
- Food service stations, carts, counters, rails, trays sanitized at least once per hour
- Housekeeping room services offered at checkout only, or upon request by the guest
“In terms of the safety and cleaning, they were pretty much in line with what we had agreed with and submitted through the Casino Operators Association that we all worked together on,” Golden Nugget Biloxi General Manager Chett Harrison said. “But what was surprising was that there were a couple of things that we didn’t think we would get. Such as table games live. There obviously will be only three people to a game. But fairly pleasing. Just good to get open, to welcome out employees and guests back, and ensure everyone is safe and having a good time.”
Is it the right decision to be made?
Some of the employees of the casinos were interviewed and asked about the opinion regarding the whole situation. One of them said that the casinos should never have been shut down and that the whole thing was just a hoax.
“Maybe. Who knows? They are off. I really think it’s all a scam, to be honest. We have been home for two months now,” said one of the interviewed employees.
Pam Wesche said she’s worked at two of the casinos in the past and she would be perfectly comfortable going to a casino when they reopen, but would definitely wear a mask. She said she feels the casinos are doing what they should.
Wesche said, “I think they know what is required, and I think people are going to be more cautious about what they do. I don’t have a mask on now, but I normally wear one.”
The Aaron Henry clinic is working with all of the casinos to provide an extra layer of health safety.
Jamie Birge, a Nurse Practitioner said, “at this point, we are trying to collaborate with the casinos in screening the staff before the casinos actually open”.
The managers said slot machines will be at least six feet apart on each floor, so guests will not congregate in an area. They will be cleaned every four hours. Guests will be screened as they enter the casino, offered hand sanitizer, and encouraged to wear masks provided by the casino. Still, there is a concern from medical professionals about what might happen with a sudden influx of visitors.
One of the professors said, “one is that people who haven’t been tested that are asymptomatic they can expose others within the casinos and also expose the staff”.
One casino worker told that he doesn’t feel safe going back to work, even with steps that have been taken. “Well, the ones I know would like to stay home where they can just get paid. That ain’t gonna happen. It’ll be over, and they’ll be ready to go back to work,” the employee said unanimously.
Regardless, the casinos are allowed to open at 8:01 a.m. on Thursday.