Gamblers were seen lining up outside casinos in California and Washington as states across America prepare to reopen their doors to patrons ready to partake in games of chance.
People waited in snaking lines at the entrance of Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine, California, on Monday. While many customers were seen wearing masks, most didn’t appear to be following social distancing guidelines.
Security guards were seen checking the temperatures of customers before they entered the casino. Anyone with a reading over 100F will be denied entry.
The Viejas Casino & Resort was the first of three popular casinos in the San Diego area to open this week.
At least one public health official acknowledged tribes are sovereign authorities and not subject to state and local restrictions on operating amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Gov Gavin Newsom announced a dramatic relaxation Monday of health standards to reopen the state, a move that could allow nearly every county to proceed more quickly, and he offered the possibility of pro sports returning – without fans – by early June. In California, there are more than 81,000 confirmed cases with at least 3,296 deaths.
People waited in snaking lines at the entrance of Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine, California, on Monday
The casino sits on tribal lands in Southern California and is one of the first casinos in the area to reopen as more are set to welcome customers later this week
Several people were seen wearing masks as they waited in lines outside the casinos
Security guards were seen checking the temperatures of customers before they entered the casino
Anyone with a reading over 100F will be denied entry. A security guard is seen taking a man’s temperature at the entrance to the Viejas Casino and Resort on Monday
In Washington state, the Emerald Queen, Little Creek and Nisqually Red Wind casinos opened on Monday.
Emerald Queen, which has a normal capacity of about 12,000 people, said it will be operating at about 30 per cent capacity.
All three casinos expect their guests to wear masks, though images show that some people didn’t have on masks as they waited in line outside of Emerald Queen.
‘People need to get out and have fun,’ Charmaine Brooks-Quinney told KING 5. Brooks-Quinney said she waited in line about an hour-and-a-half to get into the casino.
In other parts of the US, people drove hours just to get to casinos in Louisiana and Mississippi, which are reopening this week.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Shirley Martinez, drove two hours from her home in Houston to Lake Charles, Louisiana, for the casinos’ reopening on Monday.
She told the newspaper that her mother was ready to play slots and made sure they had hand sanitizer and masks ‘She said, “It’s open, let’s go,”‘ Martinez said.
In Mississippi, the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg prepared to open its doors on Thursday.
Hundreds line up for the reopening of the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife, Washington, on Monday
Emerald Queen (pictured), which has a normal capacity of about 12,000 people, said it will be operating at about 30 per cent capacity. All three casinos expect their guests to wear masks
‘People need to get out and have fun,’ Charmaine Brooks-Quinney said. Brooks-Quinney said she waited in line about an hour-and-a-half to get into the casino (pictured)
There are more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US with at least 90,890 deaths
Just last week, gamblers lined up outside casinos in Arizona and Oklahoma to play on the slot machines.
Mangers at the casinos said their machines have been placed at least six feet apart and limited seating will be allowed at tables for games like blackjack.
In Arizona, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino in Maricopa and Fort McDowell Casino near Fountain Hills reopened partially on Friday morning as Gov Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order expired.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, casinos in the central and western parts of the state say they have also redesigned with social distancing restrictions and sanitation safeguards in place to protect against a resurgence of the coronavirus.
In Arizona there have been at least 14,576 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 687 deaths, and in Oklahoma 5,489 cases and 293 deaths.
The Ak-Chin Tribal Council earlier approved the reopening of its casino, with slot machine banks arranged to allow for social distancing and limited seating at blackjack tables. Poker, keno and bingo games are not allowed yet.
‘We look forward to welcoming back our casino guests,’ Robert Livingston, the casino’s general manager, said in a statement.
Just last week, gamblers lined up outside casinos in Arizona and Oklahoma to play on the slot machines. People lined up all the way to the parking lot at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Oklahoma, May 15
At Lucky Star Casino in Oklahoma, guests and employees received temperatures checks either manually, via thermal imaging camera, or both. Additionally, plexiglass shields have installed. Customers are seen lined up outside of Lucky Star Casino on May 15
Along with social distancing and sanitizing measures, the casino that belongs to the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation will conduct temperature checks using handheld scanners and thermal cameras.
Gila River Hotels & Casinos said casinos will have new non-smoking sections on slot machine floors that observe social distancing and hard plastic shields had been installed in key areas including the cashier cage and some dining venues.
Hand sanitizing stations were being prepared at entrances and social distancing will be encouraged throughout.
Casinos remain closed in Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada, where the economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism in general.
Nevada gambling officials last week approved rules to limit customers, keep gamblers spaced apart from each other and disinfect dice and cards when the state’s casinos do reopen.
But Democratic Gov Steve Sisolak has said gambling venues will not be among businesses restarting activities during the first phase of Nevada’s reopening.