When casinos began reopening after the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, poker was one game left off the list. Casinos had to reopen under strict health and safety measures, which includes social distancing. Poker is a social game where players share chips and cards. It was a little impossible to meet certain standards and offer poker gaming. So, casinos opted to reopen with poker rooms closed. Some poker rooms have since reopened and in Pennsylvania, two casinos are preparing to offer poker once again.
Poker Room Gaming
Today, the Mount Airy Casino Resort and the Mohegan Sun Pocono will begin offering poker gaming once again. This will be the first physical poker rooms in Pennsylvania to start offering services once again.
While these two casinos are starting the reopening process for poker rooms, others will be offering poker gaming soon. Penn National reported that its Meadows Racetrack & Casino will start poker next Friday. However, its Hollywood Casino is still trying to figure out when they will provide poker again.
Other casinos have yet to announce when their poker room will get back to work. For Harrah’s Philadelphia, the brand decided to permanently close its poker room so they might not be willing to reopen even if poker is back on the table, so to speak.
The Gaming Control Board sent letters to casinos in September, requesting they provide plans for poker room reopening’s. The wanted the plans sent in by October 16. This way, the board could review the plans and then give approval to open back up.
Plans must meet safety requirements including having dividers between players and the dealer. Poker tables are also going to be limited to seven players per table. Casinos must schedule cleaning and sanitizing of the see-through dividers as well as the cards and poker chips. Players can wear gloves if they so choose as they play poker, but they must be translucent. Food is not allowed at this time.
Will There Be an Uptick in Coronavirus Cases?
The decision comes at a time when the state is seeing an increase in coronavirus positive cases. Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine commented earlier this week that the state is seeing a fall resurgence. Right now, there are no plans to change the mitigation orders.
With poker starting back up, will the casinos be at risk of an outbreak? Only time will tell. We know that the virus is tricky and people can have it without showing any signs or symptoms. If such players were to take part in poker gaming, there could be an outbreak among players at the table or throughout the poker room into the casino.
The state says they are ready to handle an increase in cases more now than they were when the virus first started. For casinos, care is being taken to ensure players and employees are safe. Hopefully, the cleaning and sanitizing, plus mask wearing and social distancing will be enough to ensure the virus does not spread throughout the facilities as poker gaming starts again.