Several casinos in the state of Pennsylvania have implemented a new no-smoking policy inside of the property. These moves come after a pair of state agencies called for a safer environment for casino workers and guests.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued an order last week, and casinos are looking to comply with the new rules. Some health experts say that smoking causes a great risk for the contracting of COVID-19, putting everyone inside of the casino at risk.
The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Washington reopened on Saturday morning as a 100 percent smoke-free facility. Meadows has been phasing out smoking inside of the casino, but the new rules are now in place for everyone that plans to enter the casino or racetrack.
The Hollywood Casino in Grantville also banned smoking inside of the casino, but there are dedicated places outside for guests that need to smoke. These outdoor areas are covered and are available at any time and in any weather conditions.
Other casinos in Pennsylvania have announced new no-smoking policies that are now in effect. Each casino has provided an area for guests that need to smoke, but guests will now be forced to leave the casino floor to get their fix.
Rivers Pittsburgh Shut Down For Second Time
The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh is now shut down for a second time after a recent surge in positive cases of the coronavirus in the Steel City. The Allegheny County Health Department shut down Rivers Pittsburgh on Thursday, and the closure is expected to last a week.
The closing of the Rivers Casino is the biggest news in the Pittsburgh area, but the mandate also affects other businesses. Any gathering of more than 25 people are now banned, and bars and restaurants have been forced to shut down as well.
Rivers Pittsburgh reopened on June 9 after closing its doors for almost three months in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The casino was operating at just 50 percent of their normal capacity, and several slot machines were turned off.
There are more than 2,600 slot machines at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, and they had the third-highest betting handle for the month of 2020 before the initial closure was announced. Casinos in the state of Pennsylvania were allowed to reopen on a county-by-county basis, and the Pittsburgh area has been hit extremely hard by the virus.
The positivity rate of coronavirus tests has continued to grow in the Pittsburgh area, and it is now up to almost 10 percent. There are currently over 3,200 cases of the coronavirus in the Pittsburgh area, and the numbers have grown by nearly 37 percent in the last two weeks.
The surge in positive tests is a major reason for the second shutdown, but there have also been many workers in the entertainment industry that have tested positive. Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh implemented several health and safety protocols to keep guests and employees safe, but the health department wants the casino to close for a week, at least.
Most US Casinos Have Reopened
The American Gaming Association has kept track of the casinos throughout the pandemic, and the AGA is now reporting that a majority of them are back open. There are 989 commercial and tribal casinos in the US, and only 162 of them remain closed, and some have been shut down for the second time.
Tribal casinos do not have to follow state regulations, and they have been able to make their own decisions. Almost all of the tribal casinos shut down at the start of the pandemic, but they began to reopen before commercial casinos did.