As more and more states get past the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, states throughout the country are eager to reopen nonessential businesses. In most states, that includes the casino industry, and casinos are starting to open back up throughout the country.
Casinos in Iowa are set to reopen on June 1, but there are some strict regulations that will be put in place. Some tribal casinos in Oklahoma are set to reopen later this week, and the tribes are also imposing regulations.
Iowa Casinos Can Open With Limited Capacity
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Tuesday that she is allowing casinos to reopen throughout the state on June 1. Reynolds ordered that all 19 commercial casinos close their doors on March 17, and she has been under some intense pressure to lift these restrictions.
As a part of her announcement, Reynolds is also allowing several other businesses and industries to reopen next week. Parks, amusement parks, and outdoor performance venues can reopen as long as health measures are implemented.
Casinos will be forced to limit the number of guests to just 50 percent of their allowed occupancy. They must also reduce the number of slot machines and table games that are on the casino floor.
Casinos will be forced to ensure that social distancing is taking place within the venue, which means keeping six feet apart from anyone else. Plexiglass barriers can also be put up at tables to satisfy the social distancing guidelines.
The traditional buffet-style restaurants that accompany casinos cannot be open at this time, but they are allowed to serve food. Reopening casinos will allow many establishments to bring back the thousands of workers that were laid off during the pandemic.
Iowa was one of the few states in the country that never had any stay-at-home order issued, but Reynolds was aggressive in closing nonessential businesses. Reynolds has been relaxing some of these guidelines recently, despite the state seeing an increased amount of deaths related to the virus.
Chickasaw Nation Set to Reopen Properties
The Chickasaw Nation is one of the biggest and most powerful tribes in the state of Oklahoma, and they have 20 casinos and gaming facilities in the state. The tribe announced last week that they are reopening all of these properties on May 27, but there will be plenty of health and safety guidelines in place.
The Chickasaw Nation will only be allowing guests up to 25 percent of their normal capacity, but that number will increase over the next few weeks. The tribe is also working to ensure the health and safety of all casino employees and their guests that visit the establishments.
Employees will be required to undergo daily screening procedures, which included having their temperature taken. The tribe will also be requiring all guests to wear face masks when inside of the property and social distancing measures will be strictly enforced.
This announcement means that the WinStar Casino will be back open for business, although the massive space will look empty at just 25 percent capacity. Called, “The World’s Biggest Casino,” WinStar features a gaming floor of more than 400,000 square feet.
WinStar announced that their valet service has been temporarily suspended and that the pools will remain closed. Free water and soda will be available at the bars, but complimentary drink service will not be offered.
This announcement comes in the midst of an ongoing battle between the Chickasaw Tribe and Governor Kevin Stitt regarding gaming compacts. The Chickasaw Tribe, along with other tribes, has entered a lawsuit against Stitt, and the outcome of that suit has not been announced.