Gamblers at San Diego casino are separated by plastic partitions
Friday 29th May 2020
There will be fewer seats at slot machines and every other machine switched off
Footage has emerged of what appears to be a 'new normal' when it comes to gaming tables in casinos.
In a brief TikTok video shot earlier this week, gamers can be seen sitting around betting tables partitioned from other players by sheets of perspex.
The footage, entitled 'New age of casino gambling', was filmed in a casino in San Diego, California.
Footage newly reopened casino shows new precautions have been installed. Perspex barriers have been erected on gaming tables to prevent virus spread
The footage was shot at a casino in San Diego earlier this week and comes just a few days before Las Vegas opens its venues
It allows casinos to open, dining at restaurants and in-store shopping, but with social-distancing restrictions.
Gamers sat at the tables are physically separated from those sitting next to them.
In some respects, the entire transaction of paying to play and receiving gaming chips is more akin to that of a bank than at a leisure location.
Those entering the casinos are supposed to wear masks and both patrons and staff members are to have their temperatures checked using remote sensing.
Table games are to be limited to a maximum of three players per table and every other slot machine will be turned off to further encourage space between players.
However, different rules apply to the casinos run by Indian tribes on tribal land.
Earlier this week, San Diego County stepped cautiously into expanded Phase 2 re-openings.
In the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, several casinos are preparing to open next week after being closed for more than two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As well as acrylic barriers between players, staff will also stand behind barriers and many casinos are requiring testing for their workers before they return to work. Pictured is a gaming table at the El Cortez casino in Las Vegas earlier this month
Marker on the floor show where players should stand for social distancing at a craps table at the El Cortez casino
Acrylic barriers have been installed between players at a gaming table
An acrylic gaming barrier is installed between electronic slot machines to protect people from the coronavirus
Las Vegas is gearing up to resume its role as the world's most iconic party destination after casinos were given the green light to reopen next week - with strict coronavirus safety measures that could put a damper on the fun
Many casinos have already begun implementing measures to keep patrons and staff safe. Pictured: Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO and president of MGM Resorts International, poses behind acrylic barriers at a blackjack table inside the Bellagio on May 20
What casinos will look like post-coronavirus lockdown
While state guidelines on reopening casinos have not yet been released by Sisolak's office, many are already implementing their own measures to keep patrons and staff safe.
Those measures include:
Hand-washing stations around the casino floorSignage reminding people to social distanceChairs spaced six feet apart at slot machines and card tablesPlexiglas partitions between patrons and dealers Daily temperature checks for staff Disinfected dice and chips after each useFree masks for guests Advertisement
It is welcome news for Nevada, which heavily relies on the massive gaming industry for its economic wellbeing.
The Bellagio, New York-New York, Caesars Palace and the Flamingo are some of the resorts that will open their doors on June 4, with strict social distancing practices in effect.
'We welcome the visitors from across the country to come here, to have a good time, no different than they did previously, but we're going to be cautious,' Governor Steve Sisolak told reporters during a late night press call on Tuesday.
Sisolak said he made the decision to reopen the multi-billion-dollar gaming industry -- the bedrock of Nevada's economy -- following consultations with health experts.
'We've taken every precaution possible,' said Sisolak, who had been due to make the announcement during a press conference that was cancelled over fears he may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus last week.
Casino floors are being adapted to ensure social distancing between patrons. Pictured: Seats are spread six feet apart inside Caesars Palace on May 21
Nevada Gov Steve Sisolak (pictured) announced Tuesday that the state's casinos can to reopen on June 4. 'We welcome the visitors from across the country to come here, to have a good time, no different than they did previously, but we're gonna be cautious,' he said
'I don't think you're going to find a safer place to come than Las Vegas by June 4, with the protocols that we've put in place, with the testing that we've put in place, with the contact tracing that will be in place by that time,' the Democratic governor added.
'We're encouraging visitors to come and enjoy themselves and have a good time.'
The Gaming Control Board issued guidelines this month on the reopening of casinos, including limiting them to half-capacity and restricting to three the number of people at gaming tables.
It also recommended the removal of every other chair at slot machines to maintain safe social distancing margins.
Casino workers, however, have balked at returning to work without enhanced measures to protect them.
'This is a matter of life-or-death for workers, and I urge everyone to proceed very deliberately and very carefully,' the Culinary Union, which represents some 60,000 Las Vegas workers, said in a statement.
'Culinary Union members and other casino workers will become frontline workers because we are the ones who will interact with guests daily and frequently.'
The union is demanding that workers who will be most exposed be tested regularly for coronavirus and given protective equipment if needed.
A Caesars Palace employee works to disable an electronic slot machine to ensure that players can't directly next to each other
Clear acrylic safety shield dividers are affixed to blackjack table at a Vegas convention center
'What happens if someone who arrives in Vegas asymptomatic develops symptoms here and decides to hole up in their room for a couple of days instead of asking for medical attention?' the union said.
Caesars Palace is retooling its dice games, card tables and slot machines to allow for social distancing.
Dice will be disinfected between shooters, chips cleaned periodically and card decks changed frequently.
Signs everywhere will remind guests of new rules: Wash your hands; keep distance from others; limit your elevator ride to your sanitized room to just four people.
'You're going to see a lot of social distancing,' said Sean McBurney, general manager at Caesars Palace.
'If there's crowding, it's every employee's responsibility to ensure there's social distancing.'
Every other slot machine will be reactivated with stools removed so that customers won't be able to play next to each other.
Card tables will also have the number of seats reduced from six to three - with social distancing strictly enforced.
Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts' acting CEO and president, said the company will be following a set of protocols to mitigate the spread of the virus, including increased testing of employees, contactless check-in and digital menus.
'As we plan for these openings, the health and safety of our guests and employees is at the forefront of all we do,' he said in a statement.
'Getting many of our employees back to work and welcoming guests through our doors once again will allow us to do what we do best -- entertain.'
In a bid to kickstart tourism, one Las Vegas casino owner Wednesday purchased 1,700 one-way tickets to the gambling hotspot from across the country, offering them for free to visitors.
Bill Hornbuckle of MGM Resorts International said his company has lost $10million a day during the shutdown. He is seen showing off safety precautions at the Bellagio last week
The Bellagio will use infrared cameras to check employee's temperatures before each shift
The thermal camera shows clearly if a worker is not feeling well or suffering a from a fever
An infrared will track workers' temperatures as they come in for work at the Bellagio
'Obviously my team and I would like you to stay at one of our hotels -- but if you don't, that's alright too,' said Derek Stevens, CEO of The D Hotel & Casino.
'Because Las Vegas needs you, our community needs you.'
Sisolak said apart from casinos, churches and other places of worship can reopen, but they can only allow up to 50 people at a time and must comply with social distancing guidelines.
He also urged people to wear masks when outside their home.
'Help protect your fellow Nevadans,' he said. 'Wear your face covering like a badge of honor.'
Businesses that will remain closed include adult entertainment establishments, brothels and nightclubs.
According to a report by consulting firm Applied Analysis for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, visitors spent $34.5 billion in southern Nevada in 2018, directly supporting more than 234,000 tourism jobs.