Idaho recently became the first state to reopen a casino in the wake of massive closures caused by the coronavirus. The Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel was the first to go and this Native American run tribal casino may give us the clearest view possible of what is to come in Atlantic City and Las Vegas when it is there turn to reopen.
First off the casino is no longer open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Instead, it is closed between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. – that’s the time their cleaning staff will work to make sure everything is disinfected.
Secondly, all the buffets are shut down – which is bad news for people used to chowing down on prime rib and shrimp while they are gambling. The off-track betting room and spa are also completely shut down and not likely to reopen soon.
On the gambling floor, every other video poker and slot machine is shut down. This is to give people the space they need between each other to gamble and make sure they don’t infect each other.
There are also constant announcements on how you can smoke and drink while keeping your mask on. And yes, all the employees and customers must wear masks the entire time they are in the building.
Plexiglass barriers have been installed on all windows, particularly the cashier’s cages. The restaurants only allow 25% of their normal operating capacity.
“It’s really been a culture shock for a lot of people,” Nizhoni Hodge, manager of the casino’s guest services program, told NBC News. Hodge, 41, who is responsible for training employees on hospitality, said that rather than teaching them how to ask a customer if they need a drink, she’s explaining how to politely ask customers to put their masks back on. “If you would have told me last year I’d be teaching people how to wear a mask, I would not have believed it.”
Other than that, things are back to as normal as they possibly can be at this time. We would expect similar safeguards to be put into place at other casinos and this gives us a glimpse of what Las Vegas and Atlantic City should look like in a few months.