Indiana casinos have a firm reopening date of June 15.
That date kicks off the fourth stage of Gov. Eric Holcomb‘s “Back on Track” reopening plan.
After the Fourth of July weekend, Hoosiers enter the fifth and final stage of reopening the state. So, unless there’s a surge in COVID-19 cases, Indiana businesses can operate without any restrictions.
South Bend’s Four Winds already announced that the casino plans to reopen next week. Since it’s a tribal casino, Four Winds doesn’t have to follow the same rules as the rest of the state’s brick-and-mortar facilities.
IGC changes plans for reopening casinos
The new blanket reopening date is a change of pace from the Indiana Gaming Commission’s (IGC) original requirements. Now that’s been flipped on its head. The commission is no longer requiring casinos to send detailed reopening plans.
Furthermore, the IGC is leaving the rest up to local governments.
“Working within Gov. Holcomb’s roadmap to safely reopen Indiana, Indiana’s commercial casino properties are permitted to reopen beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday, June 15. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.”
Now that a date is set, it’s up to individual casinos to prepare for their reopening.
Along with Four Winds, Horseshoe Hammond announced plans to reopen by June 15.
The rest of the state’s casinos will reopen that day, assuming that they’re able to get things ready in time.
Indiana casinos will open at half capacity
Just because Indiana casinos don’t need to provide the IGC with their reopening plan, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be new rules in place. Even without plans from individual casinos, the IGC still has a list of minimum guidelines that every casino must adhere to before reopening.
One of those requirements limits the number of gamblers who can be in any casino at one time. From June 15 until July 4, casinos will have to keep their occupancy at 50% capacity. That gives casinos some time to test new policies, like social distancing.
However, if casinos are having a tough time keeping numbers below the 50% mark, they’ll have to switch to a reservation system, which would help casinos keep an exact tally of the number of people inside.
Health screenings required
According to the new IGC guidelines, before you can enter an Indiana casino, you’ll have to go through a health screening.
First, you’ll undergo a quick temperature check. No one with a temperature above 100.4 degrees can come inside.
Next, you’ll have to answer a handful of questions the IGC provides, for example:
- Have you experienced flu-like symptoms recently?
- Have you had close contact or cared for someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
Once you’ve cleared the health screening, the greeter will give you some hand sanitizer and you can head inside. You’ll have to go through that process each day you visit an Indiana casino until July 4.
New rules for slots and table games
Most of the slots will be taped off or removed from the floor altogether. That will help keep gamblers at least six feet apart.
The IGC is limiting most table games to a max of three players. Roulette can have up to four players and craps can have up to six. Additionally, every player at table games will have to wear a mask while playing.
Casinos can reopen poker and pai gow rooms on July 4, unless local officials put restrictions on them.
Face masks, new cleaning rules for casinos
When it comes to face masks, the IGC is letting each casino set their own policies. Some casinos may require employees and patrons to wear a mask at all times, and others could go the opposite route.
Casinos throughout the Hoosier State will also have to follow some beefed-up sanitation rules.
For example, dice will have to be cleaned for every new shooter at games. Chips will have to be disinfected every hour. Casinos also have to have at least one designated cleaner for every 50 gaming positions on the floor. The cleaner will disinfect everything after a gambler is finished.
Also, high-touch surfaces like ATMs and kiosks will be sanitized multiple times throughout the day.
Changes to smoking, restaurants and other services
Until at least July 4, you won’t be able to smoke anywhere inside Indiana casinos. Each casino will create a new smoking area that everyone will have to use for the time being.
Restaurants inside and outside of casinos must operate at 75% capacity. Though buffets are a fixture of the traditional casino experience, they are not an option until July 4.
Gamblers will also have to wait until then before drink service can return to casino floors. Night clubs, live events, concerts and valet service are also off the table until July 4.
However, keep in mind that these guidelines are the minimum requirements for Indiana casinos to reopen. Check in with your go-to casino for specifics, or here at PlayIndiana for the latest news.