Florida is on track to become the second southern state to reopen its casinos as the US slowly emerges from a two and a half month COVID-19 lockdown. The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is leading the way with plans to have its Tampa Bay location open for business as soon as today. But casino customers will have a bit of a learning curve as they adjust to a new casino reality that involves a lot fewer people, medical checks, and reduced services.
Like most casinos that are attempting reopening, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will be operating only at 50 percent capacity. (The implications for the company’s bottom line are obvious here, but that’s another issue entirely.) Those customers who venture out of quarantine and on to the casino floor will have had to have passed a medical check that consists of a temperature check at the door. The company will be using the CDC’s standard 100.4 degree benchmark as its standard for healthy customers.
All customers and staff entering the building will be required to wear a face mask at all times. The company is firm on this issue and says it will have no exceptions. Masks have become a political flashpoint in the deeply divided United States and its unclear how this edict will go over in the deeply conservative southern state.
Table game players will be separated by plastic barriers and most of the casino’s 5,000 slot machines will be shut down to allow for social distancing.
The company has also allotted additional staff to continuously clean the facility.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, local lawmakers will be keeping a close eye on the casino and are ready to shut it down if they think operations are not safe. The biggest x-factor, however, will be the casino’s customers. Are they ready to come back? And will they be willing to play by the new rules? Those are the only questions that really matter.