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Can casinos reopen? What are the social distancing requirements?
Note: If there is no unexpected surge in COVID-19 numbers, on Wednesday, May 19, percentage-based indoor and outdoor capacity limits will be lifted. Instead, businesses must limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups of people can remain six feet apart.
Casinos, including casino gaming floors and retail sports wagering lounges, can reopen, while complying with mitigation requirements.
Casinos must comply with all requirements from Executive Order No. 157, Executive Order No. 192, Executive Order No. 230, and the Division of Gaming Enforcement and with reopening protocols from the Casino Association of New Jersey.
What to Expect at Casinos
The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in EO 157, EO 192, EO 230, and the reopening plan from the Casino Association of New Jersey. However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of EO 157, EO 192, EO 230, and any and all additional requirements imposed by the Division of Gaming Enforcement, including Casino Association of New Jersey protocols. Casinos should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.
Reopening protocols at casinos include:
- Guests and employees will be required to wear masks in all public areas; guests will be asked to briefly lower masks for cage transactions for surveillance coverage purposes.
- Employees will be screen for fever and COVID-19 symptoms at the beginning of their work shift and guests will be screened by employees through questions about symptoms and possible contact with COVID-19.
- Promote social distancing and hygiene by establishing spacing and adding appropriate signage.
- Limit total number of patrons in and around gaming areas of a casino hotel facility to 50 percent of total occupancy limits, not including employees.
- Cordon off any indoor or outdoor dance floors to the public;
- Sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the casino hotel complex.
- Any establishments that serve food or alcohol must comply with the health and safety protocols for indoor and outdoor dining including any regulations municipalities or counties impose on the hours of operation of in-person restaurant service after 8 p.m.
- Indoor showrooms and nightclubs are closed.
- At table games and at gaming machines, there must be one empty position between a single guest and another unrelated guest.
- Total number of players at a gaming table will be limited (eg, 3 players per blackjack table)
- All table games must have Plexiglas or glass barriers installed between dealer/game operator and guests.
- Casinos will adhere to additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
- Individuals who are at a casino at a specific time, a specific location, and for a common reason, such as a poker tournament, are subject to the State's gathering limits.
- Smoking, including vaping, is prohibited in the indoor areas of casinos, casinos simulcasting facilities, and retail sports wagering lounges, per Administrative Order 2020-19.
Requirements to Protect Employees and Others
Employers must comply with the following requirements:
- Employees must wear masks in all public areas, in hotel rooms, and when less than 6 feet from a co-worker or guest.
- Employees shall maintain a distance of 6 feet from guests and co-workers, when possible.
- Employers must provide face masks to employees
- Provide approved sanitization materials
- Hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes will be at every timeclock station, sanitizer stations will be placed throughout back of house areas, and sanitizer fluid or wipes will be provided in employee cafeteria.
- Employers must ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide employees with sufficient break time for that purpose;
- Employers must routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines;
- Employees will be educated on COVID-19 and instructed to stay home if they do not feel well or have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- Where possible, employee break areas, cafeteria, training areas, and locker rooms will be set up such that employees can maintain 6 feet of separation.
- Employees will be provided with a list of COVID-19 viral testing opportunities in Atlantic County and testing information will be posted near each employee entrance and in the employee cafeteria.
- Prior to each shift, conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance;
- Do not allow sick employees to enter workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws; and
- Promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite; and
- Clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with CDC guidelines when an employee at the site has been diagnosed with COVID-19 illness.
- The casino hotel complex will arrange for COVID-19 testing for any employee who is not permitted to work at no cost to the employee, provide material on preventing the spread of COVID-19, and encourage employees to contact local health provider.
- Employees who can do their job at home will be allowed to continue working from home as long as practicable.
Detailed requirements can be found in the full text of Executive Order No. 192 and the Summary Plan of Reopening Protocols developed by the Casino Association of New Jersey.