Gaming officials in Maine have worked out a safety plan that is expected to help mitigate the possibility of another wave of COVID-19 infections, paving the way for the state’s two gaming facilities, namely Hollywood Casino and Oxford Casino, to reopen their doors to the general public as soon as later this week.
Hollywood Casino, a gambling and entertainment property owned by Penn National Gaming (PNG), is expected to be ready to open their doors on Friday this week, if everything goes as planned. Oxford Casino, a gaming property owned by the Churchill Downs, will also likely to unlock its door before the end of this week.
Michael Sauschuck, Public Safety Commissioner for the state, said he was involved in working out the policies and procedures that would allow Maine’s gaming facilities to resume operations following the lengthy COVID-19 shutdown. Under the plan, casinos will see their capacities slashed and limited to merely 200 people. That limit will again be broken down and “zones” will be created inside the gaming facilities that will allow no more than 50 people in each zone at any given time.
Currently, Oxford Casino is working on getting more than one hundred workers back in uniform. Jack Sours, general manager for Oxford casino, said they were preparing hard to reopen the facility to the members of the general public, and added they expected to be able to convince the state gaming regulator to increase the facility’s capacity once it provides necessary oversight.
When asked about the 4-zone policy, Mr. Sours said, “We’ll have four 50-person quadrants for a total of 200 guests that could be in the building at one time. And we’ll manage those quadrants independently, so as the guest goes through the casino they’ll have to come to a checkpoint, and then we’ll say, ‘Yes you can go into that one, there’s availability,’ or ‘No this one’s full…”
Under the safety plan, anyone entering the casinos will require to put on a facial covering and maintain at least six feet of distance from others at all slots and table games. If anyone who may not be willing to abide by the guidelines will be asked to stay at home.
Casino operators as well as local government are itching to reopen their gaming and entertainment facilities as they rely on the revenue generated by the gambling facilities. Currently, local governments are suffering losses of as much as 15 per cent of their annual budget because of the shutdown.
However, given the recent reappearance of COVID-19 infections after lifting of restrictions in states like Nevada and Florida, Maine state official will have to remain on their guard with their casino reopening plans.