May 25, 2020

Players pack chairs as some Southern California casinos reopen

Slot machines displayed flashing graphics and made clanging noises as patrons spun the reels and Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” played somewhere softly in the background at Pala Casino, Spa & Resort on Friday, May 22. In some ways it felt like a standard day at the casino, but there were also some notable changes in place.

Pala joined Harrah’s Resort Southern California; Valley View Casino & Hotel; Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa; Spotlight 29 Casino; Tortoise Rock Casino; and the Agua Caliente Casinos in Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs in deciding to reopen Friday. All of those casinos opened with a list of conditions that included visitors getting their temperature checked before entering, wearing a face covering and maintaining social distance.

Slot machines were turned off, chairs were removed and in the casinos we visited, employees could be seen moving about the casino floor and sanitizing slot machine screens, buttons, counter tops and more.

Most employees wore masks, but some, such as the table game dealers at Pala, wore plastic face coverings that shielded their entire face.

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Representatives for the casinos were mostly optimistic about how things were going Friday.

“Overall it’s been a very smooth opening and transition into this new world order,” said Fred Buro, CEO of Pala Casino, Spa & Resort, adding that guests were participating in the casino’s new requirements enthusiastically.

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That’s a sentiment that Simon Farmer, director of marketing for Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, shared.

“Everyone has been by-and-large super respectful of the new mitigation, the new safety protocols, that we have in place and they understand,” Farmer said. “In fact, it stands to reason because we put a lot of these protocols in place because of feedback from our guests.”

Reopening day at the resorts

Pala Casino, Spa and Resort, which opened at 10 a.m., was among the first casinos to open Friday.  By 11 a.m., the first floor of Pala’s parking garage was full, though there were spaces on other floors.

Guests were stopped and scanned by touchless thermometers before being allowed to enter the casino floor. A table was set up near the casino entrance where an employee was giving out face masks and gloves to guests who might need them.

On rows of slot machines about half the machines had been turned off but signage indicated that guests who wanted to play a particular slot title could have it turned on by a casino employee.

“They seem to be OK with migrating to machines and us turning machines on as they want to play them and we ensure that there’s plenty of distance between the other games and it seems to be going well,” Buro said.

In various points of the casino, signs reminded people to practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.

Harrah’s Resort Southern California opened around noon. An area had been set up for lines …read more

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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