Can Landbased Casinos Open Safely in this Pandemic?

Jun 03

For those who are fond of casino gaming and gambling, playing casino games have been moved from actual to virtual. Online casinos have become the go-to option for gamers when it comes to wagering and gaming. This then begs the question of whether landbased casinos will ever return to normal operations, and if they do open up, can they do so safely with a pandemic raging in the background?

In the US, and elsewhere in the world, there is a legitimate fear that the landbased casino industry is heading for extinction, or at the very least, a long hibernation. This is because of the fact that the Covid-19 virus is out of control and there are no cures and vaccines for it yet.

Landbased casinos that had to shutter their doors but have an online presence are not as affected as those that don’t have online versions of their games. Those that don’t have an online portal for their regular customers to go to, however, are in fear of going bankrupt. This is why when it was announced that casinos in Vegas were to reopen in June, there was a collective sigh of relief from the industry in the US.

Now the question is, with the pandemic still present, and with people still scared of getting infected, is there any way that landbased casinos worldwide can open safely? The reason why some of the casinos in the US, and elsewhere in the world for that matter, are opening up, is because they need to. Aside from not wanting to go bankrupt, these entities have a sense of responsibility to their employees and are also essential to the economies of the cities and countries they are in.

Safety Protocols to Be Implemented for Reopening

The only way for these casinos to reopen safely is for governments in the countries these are located in to institute a list of precautionary measures. There is a list of safety measures that casinos have to follow before they can be allowed to reopen and these include the following:

Hygienic Personal Behavior Rules – It has been noted that wearing masks and using hand sanitizer constantly helps limit the spread of the virus. These measures are being used everywhere by people who don’t want to get infected or spread the infection. This is why this particular move is being implemented in casinos that are reopening in Vegas and elsewhere. This is a rule that is being enforced not only for the staff of these outlets but also for customers who will be entering such establishments.

To ensure that all involved in casino gaming follow such rules, whether they be staff or customers, people will be provided by the establishment with hand sanitizers all over the casino floor. The mask mandate will also be strictly enforced and people who don’t have masks will either be provided one or be asked to leave the premises if they refuse to wear one. Aside from these, people will also be encouraged to avoid touching their mouth, nose, and eyes at any time while they are on the premises.

Social Distancing Rules – There is a rule worldwide that maintaining a 6-feet distance from others to avoid contracting and spreading the virus is a must. This same rule is to be enforced in landbased casinos with the help of certain modifications that include barriers, distancing of tables as well as chairs, and limiting the number of people on the floor at any given time. Social distancing will also be used on slot machines, with each machine being placed 6 feet away from other machines.

This will be implemented strictly to ensure that the spread of the virus is contained. Other measures to be enforced to ensure that social distancing is done within the premises include the addition of visual cues on all areas of the casino floor, when using elevators and toilets, restriction of eating and drinking at gaming tables, and reducing the number of tables at restaurants in these establishments.

For staff, communal spaces where people used to congregate during breaks will either be closed down or will enforce a rule for staggered use of such areas. These areas will also be disinfected regularly by casino maintenance staff in between uses. It has also been mandated that hand sanitizer will be made available all over the facility and that these should have at least 60% alcohol in it.

Other Casino Rules for Workers – Casino staff will also need to follow very strict rules to ensure that none of them contracts the virus and spreads it within the organization. These rules are also set in place to ensure that no customers are exposed to the virus via the casino workers they interact with. These rules include staggered and rotated shifts for floor workers and food handlers. Limiting the number of people within the facility is also enforced.

Employees who are considered high risk for the virus are given other options to keep them from the risk of getting infected. This can include changing their designation and giving them telework positions. Those who are considered for this are employees who are older, have pre-existing health conditions, and those who have elderly as well as immune-compromised individuals living at home with them.

Also part of the rules that casino workers have to follow to ensure the safety of staff and customers in casinos is the use of alternative modes of transportation to work instead of public transport. This is to ensure that they limit contact with others as much as possible. Alternative modes of transport include individual vehicles, ride-sharing with fellow employees, biking, and walking.

All staff will also be trained on Covid safety protocols and to easily recognize signs of infection, both in themselves and those they interact with. Workers are also encouraged to live healthier lifestyles that include eating healthy food, exercising, and getting enough rest. This way, they are not as susceptible to the severe symptoms of the virus and to infection.

Will these precautions and guidelines work to help keep both casino workers and customers safe? Only time will actually tell. So far, these very same protocols have worked for other establishments to keep infection to a minimum, so it might be worth a try to use these in these gambling outlets.