Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has ordered all casinos in the US state to close until at least January 4 as part of new novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions.
Casinos will have to close and halt all gaming activities by 12:01am on December 12, with strict instructions not to reopen until 8:00am on January 4.
The order will apply to all 12 casinos across Pennsylvania, though Rivers Casino Philadelphia had already closed on November 20 in line with an order issued by the City of Philadelphia.
“With these measures in place, we hope to accomplish three goals:, stop the devastating spread of Covid-19 in the commonwealth, keep our hospitals and healthcare workers from becoming overwhelmed, and help Pennsylvanians get through the holiday season – and closer to a widely available vaccine – as safely as possible,” Wolf said.
The closure notice will also cover all other indoor entertainment venues, as well as in-person dining at restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness facilities, while new capacity limits will be introduced for both indoor and outdoor events.
Data released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health showed that the state yesterday (December 10) recorded 12,021 new cases of Covid-19 and 226 related deaths.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board executive director Kevin O’Toole backed the decision to temporarily close casinos, saying public health and safety of patrons, casino employees and others is of paramount importance.
“The Board is continuously monitoring developments and will update licensees and the public as frequently as possible with any new developments,” O’Toole said.
The closure order will not impact other forms of regulated gambling, with online casino-type games, sports wagering and fantasy contests to continue as normal.