Safety front of mind for US casinos 

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
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Casinos will focus on health and safety measures in 2021 as reopenings continue.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that as 2020 winds down, all 10 of San Diego’s tribal casinos are open for business.

“We have gone to great effort to keep the excitement of the gaming experience intact in the face of COVID-19 related changes,” Pala Casino Spa and Resort spokesperson Coley McAvoy said.

“Safe social distancing has reduced the capacity and volume of guests at pokies and table games, however, our focus is on providing a safe and comfortable environment where guests can enjoy a true gaming experience while taking the necessary safety precautions.”

Most of the gaming establishments dotted throughout Southern California, as well as the mega-resorts up and down the Las Vegas Strip are now open again.

“Our properties will not look the way they used to for a while, and that’s not only OK, it’s critically important,” acting president and chief executive of MGM Resorts Bill Hornbuckle said.

“We will continue providing the hospitality experiences we are known for, but we must do so safely.”

Most casinos shut down when COVID-19 arrived in March.

MGM outlines seven-point health plan for casino reopenings 

At varying times over the several months, casino executive teams made individual decisions to reopen with new health and safety measures in place.

Round the clock cleaning, social distancing and face coverings are now commonplace.

A comprehensive example of health-related precautions is the “Seven-Point Safety Plan” implemented last summer by MGM Resorts International for its dozens of casinos all over the world.

After closing in March, MGM Resorts International began a phased re-opening plan for its Las Vegas casinos.

That began in the summer, after compiling a plan created in conjunction with health and safety advisor Dr Shannon Magari.

The plan is a set of protocols and procedures designed in conjunction with medical and scientific experts to deter the spread of the virus, protect guests and employees and quickly respond to new cases.

The MGM plan includes screening, temperature checks and employee training.

Employee and guest screening will measure and assess signs and symptoms of infection, while employees will go through temperature checks before entering a property.

Mandatory masks and personal protective equipment will be required for staff and guests, with guests asked to minimise the amount of time masks are removed when drinking on the casino floor.

Eating on the casino floor is not permitted.

A six-foot physical distancing policy will be in place, wherever feasible, with floor guides serving as reminders.

Heating ventilation and air conditioning controls will be in place to help mitigate the virus of virus transmission, while cleaning products will be used that are approved for coconravirus and bacterial pathogens.

San Diego’s casinos all have similar procedures in place, with some nuanced differences, such as the types of masks permitted, the capacity at gaming tables and the use of hand sanitising stations.

At MGM, guests will have the ability to complete a check-in process via a mobile app.

This includes the ability to process payment, verify identification and obtain a digital room key.

Digital restaurant menus will be available to view on personal mobile devices via QR codes.

Virtual queues will be in place for guests when immediate seating is not available.

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