LAS VEGAS — The Nevada State Gaming Control Board has issued new health and safety policy statements detailing instructions for the reopening of casinos with guidelines that include social distancing requirements.
The guidelines, which were posted on the control board’s website, include a seven-page document for nonrestricted licensees (large gaming operations), and a separate four-page notice for restricted licensees (establishments with 15 or fewer slot machines such as convenience stores, bars and restaurants). Both directives require a detailed reopening plan at least seven days before the planned opening by the license holders.
“We’re definitely going to require a lot of our licensees. They understand they need to get it right,” board Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan said Monday.
Patrons and hotel guests “will find the high-level customer service they’re used to, an environment that’s clean and sanitized, (and) employees who are properly trained on COVID and sanitation protocol,” Morgan said.
“But it’s likely going to look a little different, because the operators have to make sure there is social distancing,” she said. “Obviously, mass gatherings can’t happen right away.”
Among the requirements of gaming entities listed in the new documents:
- Properties must limit occupancy to no more than 50% of the limit assigned to each gaming area of the property by local building and fire codes. Properties can use head counts by security personnel, existing surveillance systems and slot machine accounting systems to estimate occupancy numbers.
- Plans must include how hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes would be available to all casino employees as well as for patron use.
- Plans must ensure that the floor plan for slot machines creates proper social distancing between patrons. The guideline suggests that chairs and stools in front of every other gaming machine be removed so that patrons do not sit next to each other, or licensees could propose other measures to ensure proper distance between players. Employees will be assigned to focus on ensuring guests don’t congregate in groups.
- Social distancing will be required in all table games. Limits will include three players per blackjack table, six players per craps table, four players per roulette table and four players per poker table. Casino supervisors and managers must ensure that patrons do not congregate in groups around gaming tables.
- Plans will require regular cleaning and disinfection of table games, rails, chairs, dice, card shoes, shufflers, roulette wheels, pai gow tiles, pit podiums, blackjack discard holders and tip boxes when a new player or employee comes in contact with any of those items. Plans also will address how licensees will disinfect cards and chips.
- Plans must ensure that patrons do not congregate in groups and practice social distancing in race and sportsbooks, keno lounges, bingo halls and any other gaming areas. Plans also must include how those areas will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
- Nightclubs and dayclubs within a licensee’s property must remain closed until further notice.
The board expects all licensees to comply with all health and safety guidelines and directives issued by federal, state and local governing authorities with respect to the operation of hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and swimming pools. Any area where patrons queue should have appropriate signage requiring social distancing in accordance with government requirements. All restaurants and bars should have reduced seating under government requirements to allow for appropriate distancing between each table and between customers.
The guidelines include rules for “Meetings and Conventions. They prohibit groupings of more than 250 people. Food service locations are included in the guidelines.
Similar requirements also are in place for the smaller restricted gaming licensees, including the 50% occupancy rules and social distancing at bartop slot machines. The board suggested covering a machine’s bill and ticket validator so that customers do not use that machine.