Nevada governor Steve Sisolak has set a target date of 4 June for the reopening of the state’s casinos.
All casinos in the state were ordered to close on 17 March due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, but with other states such as Louisiana and Mississippi reopening last week, Nevada has set out a roadmap of its own.
Earlier this month, the Nevada Gaming Control Board provided guidelines for reopening. Casinos must limit the number of players in their facilities and at gaming tables in order to prevent transmission of the virus.
Player limits will be set for table games at three players per blackjack table, six players per craps table, four players per roulette table, and four players per poker table.
In addition, licensees must “ensure that the floor plan for gaming machines creates proper social distancing between patrons,” with the board suggesting removing chairs at every other machine.
“Without a thoughtful and measured reopening of Nevada’s gaming industry, all of the work that Nevadans have done to fight the spread of this viral pandemic will have been for naught,” the governor’s office said in its announcement of the reopening timetable. “The Gaming Control Board remains resolute in ensuring that gaming operations in this state do not compromise the health and safety of Nevadans.”
“In consultation with the Office of the Governor, as well as federal, state, and local health officials, the board’s policies aim to diminish personal contact and increase the level of disinfection in high-use areas, and the board expects full compliance with these Policies by each licensee.”
The regulator will hold a meeting today (26 May) where state and local health and safety officers will provide an update regarding responses to the pandemic. The Board will then consider its next steps.
The board has already received input on reopening from public health officials including Oscar Delgado, chief executive of healthcare provider Community Health Alliance, who called for a ban on smoking in casinos.
In addition, Geoconda Arguello-Kline of the Culinary Union Workers’ Local 226 – Nedada’s largest labor union – called on the regulator to make casinos provide more transparency about their reopening plans, and how these affect the safety of workers, to staff.