Casinos in Pennsylvania are closing down a second time due to an increase in positive coronavirus case counts. Governor Tom Wolf recently contracted the virus himself and has decided to issue new protocols involving the virus as case counts continue to be a problem, with hospitals potentially overwhelmed in the near future.
New Closure Order
The new closure order begins on December 12 at 12:01 am. The casinos will remain closed until January 4 at 8:00 am. However, this could change. It will all depend on how the closure affects the rate of the virus.
Unfortunately for the Rivers Casino Philadelphia, this means and even longer closure. The casino first closed on November 20 due to its location in Philadelphia. It will now have to remain closed until the January reopening.
There are 12 casinos in the state, and all will shudder due to the new order. This is also bad news for the Live! Pittsburgh venue as it just opened on November 24. A sister casino to this one, Live! Casino Philadelphia, is currently under construction. It is expected to open during the first quarter of next year but that may change depending on state restrictions.
The state’s Gaming Control Board is currently helping with the shutdown process. Kevin O’Toole, the Executive Director of the Board, stated that the safety and public health of visitors, employees and others are of the utmost importance.
The Board continues to monitor developments and will provide updates to license holders as well as the public as new developments take place. The closures only affect the land-based gaming sector. Online casino gaming, sports betting as well as daily fantasy sports can continue.
Along with casino gaming, there are other restrictions in place. Indoor dining has been suspended throughout the state. Business owners are only allowed to offer outdoor dining as well as take-out food service and alcohol.
Gatherings of more than 50 people are also no longer allowed when it comes to outdoor events. In-person businesses can provide services, but only at 50% capacity. If existing orders limit the capacity further, then that order still stands.
The state will be taking a wait and see approach when it comes to reopening. It would not be surprising to see the governor continue his order if the virus continues to be a problem in the state. When the Keystone State casinos reopened the first time, they were allowed to offer services at 50% capacity.
All players and employees were required to wear masks. Social distancing was promoted heavily with markings on the floor to help everyone know where to go and stand. Enhanced cleaning processes were also provided throughout the facilities and were mandatory by the state.
The economy is going to be hit hard by this recent closure. With casinos not bringing any money in, it will only create a larger tax revenue shortfall. However, the state does offer online gaming, so that will help to take away some of the monetary strain.