Casinos around West Virginia set for reopening with limited offerings

NITRO, W.Va. — Casinos around the Mountain State are reopening on Friday after nearly three months of being closed due to COVID-19.

The resorts will be doing so with precautions in place centered around Center for Disease Control guidelines, cleanings of high touchpoints throughout the day and deep cleanings of entire facilities overnight.

Mardi Gras Casino in Kanawha County is one of those facilities opening Friday and introduced an operating procedures plan called “Play It Safe” with its parent company Delaware North. The company also owns Wheeling Island Casino where the same procedures will be put into place.

“The health and safety of our guests and employees is our top priority, and our Play It Safe program is focused on that,” said Eric Althaus, general manager of Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in a release.

Eric Althaus

“We are pleased the state has approved our reopening plan, which we worked on with Gov. Justice’s reopening team and the West Virginia Lottery.”

Mardi Gras will reopen at 50 percent capacity per the state’s directive and will feature a reduced number of slots, live racing without spectators but with onsite wagering, and simulcast wagering. Table games and sports betting will not be available, per release.

Althaus told MetroNews the slot machines closed will have chairs pulled so people know the slots are not available.

However, before walking into the facility precautions will take place for guests and workers.

“Upon coming into the property you’ll have to have your ID scanned and temperature checked and affirm that you haven’t had any symptoms, signs or been around anyone with COVID-19,” Althaus told MetroNews.

“That’s going to be for guests but also associates. They’ll have to get their temperature checked before coming into the property every day.”

The “Play it Safe” program also includes:

  • All incoming guests will be added to a guest registry, and their identity will be stored as a record of their visit.
  • All guests will be required to wear a mask or other face-covering during their visit.
  • An on-site Clean Team has been created, and its members are equipped with Ecolab multi-surface cleaner and disinfectant to conduct ongoing sanitization of all surfaces. They will help to protect guests by dispensing hand sanitizer and spot cleaning slot machines and other surfaces on request.
  • Social distancing protocols are in place throughout the facility.
  • Touchless service and payment options are now available at food and beverage outlets.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations have been added at the entrance and throughout the facility.
  • Air exchange settings have been bolstered to optimize air quality within the facility.
  • Some service offerings may be limited or unavailable to help maintain safe social distancing and health and safety guidelines.

Althaus further said those service offerings include limited hours for the Lucky North players club, and food and beverage options will be closed, with the exception of grab-n-go items available at the sports bar. Mardi Gras’ hotel will remain closed until further notice.

The casino’s hours will be 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily and that will allow the facility to receive a deep clean overnight.

The Mountaineer in Hancock County reopens on Friday with similar guidelines but will have its restaurants and sportsbooks open.

The casino said it has adjusted hours from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. with a deep cleaning occurring overnight. All guests and team members will be required to have non-invasive temperature checks as they enter the facility, the website said.

The casino will operate at half occupancy of total floor capacity as slot machines and table games will be arranged to allow for proper social distancing, as defined by the governor’s guidelines.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races opens at 8 a.m. on Friday with social distancing guidelines and deep cleaning practices being put into place.

At the Jefferson County facility, restaurants offerings will be limited to prepackages sandwiches, drinks and snacks. The sportsbooks and poker room will remain closed but table games open and have a maximum occupancy.

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