Delaware will become the latest state to restart casino gaming on Monday, June 1, DE Governor John Carney confirmed. Even though the state’s casino footprint is small in comparison to other states, the lack of revenue has hit the economy, and the governor is enacting measures to see operations restored back.
The prohibitions, including the suspension of all gaming activities in the state, began in mid-March, when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak began gaining momentum throughout the United States. The go-ahead from Gov. Carney will allow Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington to return back to some sort of normal.
The governor’s office has been discussing these measures since at least May 15, and can finally begin with the phased reopening of Delaware’s economy.
What Does Delaware’s Casino Normal Look Like?
Ahead of the planned reopening, health authorities and the governor have already agreed on safety measures that would give guests and staff the best chance to avoid infection. Capacity at all three casinos will be limited to 30% with mandatory face covering for guests and staff and stringent social distancing measures combined with medical screening and temperature checks.
Planning ahead of opening day, Delaware Park has already begun testing employees and staff members, much to the relief of their employees. The 600-strong workforce at Delaware Park will all receive free COVID-19 tests free of charge. Speaking to Delaware Online, Delaware Park president Bill Fasy had this to say: “It’s been overwhelming how many people have been so happy they can get tested.”
Other measures will pertain to the available amenities and gaming verticals at all three properties. Sports betting facilities and table games will remain closed for the time being. The closures will extend to retail stands as well as the Dover Downs’ hotel and bars. Another measure affects the working hours of all three casinos, with the properties open only between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m.
More Measures to Stave off a Repeat Infection
The stakes are understandably high. Each casino has had to submit a comprehensive plan to healthy authorities and the Division of Small Business outlining the measures they would undertake to keep everyone safe.
Dover Downs, for example, will only allow guests through the casino velvet entrance in The Colonnade. Harrington will expect all visitors to the casino to answer a short questionnaire prior to their entry on the premises and Delaware Park will only at first allow players with a rewards club card. They must be all state citizens.
There will be some food and beverages options, but they will be limited between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. for most properties. Each casino will come up with its own specific rules for serving food. At some places, food will be takeout, circumnavigating the need to watch over a potential health hazard.
Dover Downs president Nick Polcino said that the company was excited and looking forward to welcoming guests back.
“We are committed to continue working closely with the state to ensure the health and safety of both our employees and our guests remain a top priority as we move forward in this new phase,” he added.
Now, Delaware casinos have their loyal customers to look forward to and one question continues to keep coming up. How long will the recovery take? Nobody knows and for the time being, casinos and employees are just happy to go back to work.