Cardrooms in Los Angeles County will be allowed to start operating outdoors on Monday, October 5. Wearing of masks will be mandatory for both visitors and employees. Operators are already preparing their tents and card tables equipped with Plexiglas spacers.
L.A. County Allows Outdoor Cardrooms to Start Operating on Monday
Earlier this week, Los Angeles County government officials announced that cardrooms can reopen outdoors on Monday, October 5. Although the outdoor reopening of cardrooms was allowed previously according to state guidelines, this week the county allowed it as well. Currently, the operators are preparing to meet the county requirement for safe operation in the COVID-19 environment. There are approximately 8,000 people employed in the seven L.A. County casinos and the return of cardrooms will only bring a part of them.
The cardrooms have already started preparing their tents and will be ready for tomorrow’s reopening. Plexiglas spacers are going to separate each player and the dealer at each card table. Furthermore, wearing of masks will be mandatory to both guests and employees at all times. Foods or drinks will not be served or allowed at the gaming table. Guests are only going to be allowed indoors when they need to go to the toilet.
Similar to other states, casinos in California were shut back in March. State officials introduced this measure aiming at reducing the spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19. Although cardrooms reopened on June 19, after a few surges of positive COVID-19 cases Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the shutdown of cardrooms on July 1. While the initial plan was for a three-week closure, the result was a three-month closure. Because of that, last month mayors of 5 cities in Los Angeles areas urged LA County officials to allow outdoor cardroom operations.
Fresh Gambling Tax Revenue Will Help Cities in L.A. County
Keeping in mind that multiple cities in L.A. County rely on taxes from casino gambling, the reopening will undoubtedly boost their economies. The Bicycle Hotel and Casino accounts typically for 50% of the city budget of Bell Gardens. According to Mayor Alejandra Cortez, the resume of operations will help the city but also nearly 100 families which are employed by the casino. She deemed the outdoor reopening of cardrooms as a “glimmer of hope” and a “starting point to move forward”.
“The pandemic has been much longer than we all expected,”Mayor Alejandra Cortez
Mayor Cortez added that over the last few months, the city has been suffering. Many difficult conversations were conducted with both employees and residents, she added. Given the missing revenue from taxes, a 7.5% pay reduction was introduced for police officers. Moreover, some of the city officials were furloughed. In conclusion, Mayor Cortez added that it is extremely difficult to try and thank employees for working during the pandemic, while at the same time introducing pay cuts.
Lucky Lady Larry Flynt Casino general manager, Aaron Dennis said that on Monday approximately 200 of the casino employees will come back to work. This number represents nearly half of the full-time employees at the casino. But the operator has already prepared around 40 gaming tables under a tent approximately 80 feet by 100 feet. Dennis expects that the outdoor venue will be busy “based on real simple supply and demand principles”. In conclusion, Dennis said: “We’ve been able to effectively recreate an entire casino operation in a matter of weeks outdoors and in tents.“