The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to adjust the way they go about with their daily activities. Strict health measures have been imposed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. While businesses have been allowed o open, they have been forced to adjust to the “new normal”. Casinos and gambling operators are no exception.
Stars Casino in Tracy, California reopened last Saturday after a five month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the casino has implemented changes to adapt to the reality of the coronavirus pandemic.
Complying with State Health Protocols
In compliance with state health protocols on social distancing, the casino was allowed to open but at 50% guest capacity. Aside from operating under 50% capacity, one of the most significant change is moving its gaming tables to an tented outdoor patio. Yes, card games like blackjack and poker are now played outdoors at Stars Casino.
Tables are separated six feet apart while the chips and cards are replaced after a couple of hours so they can be disinfected. Table capacity has been reduced from eight to four to give ample space between customers. The tables are also sanitized before and after guests sits down while hand washing stations are readily available throughout the venue.
Likewise, all patrons are screened when they arrive. Guests are required to have their temperatures checked. They are also required to wear a mask and a wristband that signifies that they have already been inspected.
Challenge In Moving Outdoors
In addition to moving outdoors and having smaller crowds, customers will be surprised to find another major change. Although the casino secured a state permit to serve food with drinks, the latter will have to wait, for now. Said Emmanuel Macalino, a manager at the casino:
“I’ve decided to not serve alcoholic beverages until we can work out all the kinks and iron out all the wrinkles in our operations.”
According to Macalino, moving the table games outdoors has given them a challenge in maintaining social distancing. Aside from that Macalino says battling the summer heat is another trial:
“We also have to deal with the weather as you can see it’s pretty toasty out here, and we put up the shades, and we still need allow the airflow.”
But tough as adjusting moving outdoors will be, it is necessary given the situation of the pandemic in the country. And yes, Macalino says that these precautionary measures have enabled Star Casino to be the only card room operator to re-open in Tracy so far.