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May 21, 2020

Masks, plexiglass and hand sanitizer may become new normal at casinos

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board releases minimum safety requirements for reopening

Casinos Gambling
Casino Coronavirus requirements reopening Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Pennsylvania gamblers will have a different experience when casinos reopen. Gamblers must wear masks and plexiglass may be positioned between slot machines. Poker rooms will be shut down initially.

Pennsylvania casinos will have a different vibe once Gov. Tom Wolf gives them the green light to reopen. 

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board outlined the health protocols that casinos will need to undertake to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Gamblers will be required to wear masks at all times and stay six feet away from others, as indicated by markings on the floor. Plexiglass barriers may be placed between slot machines – if they're not disabled – and hand sanitizer machines will be scattered throughout casinos, too. 

Poker rooms initially will be shut down and table games will have a limited number of participants.

Staffers positioned outside casino entrances will be trained to look for potentially ill guests. They also will be required to screen patrons, asking whether they have had a fever or come into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus within the last 14 days. 

The protocols, outlined in a 10-page document released Wednesday, represent the minimum requirements for reopening, the PGCB said. Casinos also are developing their own reopening plans. 

"While these guidelines for casino operations will be subject to amendment as we move closer to a time of reopening, we believe this plan will be effective in mitigating and reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for all employees, patrons and other guests," PGCB Executive Director Kevin O'Toole said.

Under Pennsylvania's reopening plan, casinos will remain closed during the red and yellow phases. None of the state's 67 counties have been given a date when they will enter the green phase.

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