All across the US, casinos are beginning to rebuild following the global COVID-19 pandemic that had them handicapped for more than a year. Nevada, Mississippi and other states have already announced reductions or withdrawals of COVID-19 health restrictions and California is expected to be added to the list in a week. A few casinos in the state, however, are beginning to lift restrictions early, while continuing to follow state guidelines in general.
California Close to Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions
Many casinos in California didn’t have to follow state health requirements because they’re operated by native tribes that follow a different set of rules. However, responsible operators worked with federal, state and local officials, and voluntarily adhered to guidelines. Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to lift state restrictions on June 15, but many casinos are already making changes to their protocols ahead of the changes.
California is going to follow the latest update provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has said that fully vaccinated people have an extremely low risk of catching COVID-19. This means that, for these individuals, face masks, social distancing and other measures may now be overkill. Those who aren’t vaccinated are reportedly still at a high risk of catching the virus.
California Casinos on the Road to Recovery
The Press-Enterprise has received updates on where some gambling properties stand in relation to the health restrictions, although certain casinos decided not to respond to requests for information. The media outlet reports that a few properties, but not all, are already beginning to return to normal as they work to make up for lost time. Agua Caliente Casinos has three properties in the state and is going to take things day by day, still adhering to strict precautions that include face masks, temperature checks and social distancing. Augustine Casino, on the other hand, has lifted the need for temperature checks, but still requires face masks to be worn until June 15.
Other properties, such as the Valley View Casino & Hotel, Soboba Casino Resort and Pechanga Resort Casino, are also keeping restrictions in place a little longer. Soboba has stopped temperature checks and removed plexiglass dividers at its slot machines, but the others are reportedly going to wait things out and make their changes when the state does. The Pala Casino, Spa & Resort is no longer checking temperatures, either, but will keep masks a requirement until June 15. After that, they will be optional.
Harrah’s Resort Southern California is taking a more lenient approach already, reporting that vaccinated employees and guests aren’t required to wear face masks. Social distancing is still in place and employees have to submit to temperature checks when reporting for duty – guests do not. However, although the casino will allow vaccinated individuals to forego the mask, it isn’t requiring proof that the vaccination has been administered.
From Vegas to Massachusetts, COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to be erased. The response has already been significant, with several jurisdictions reporting revenue that exceeds that of 2019, well before the pandemic. As casinos begin to recover and sportsbooks are being added to many, the overall state of the domestic gaming scene in the US is going to stabilize quickly.