Pennsylvania Casinos Begin to Reopen Following New Protocols

(STL.News) All land-based casinos across Pennsylvania were required to close earlier in 2020 in response to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in serious disruption for operators and customers alike.

Now that measures to combat the virus have been eased somewhat, casinos are opening their doors again, while implementing a raft of new protocols in order to ensure that both employees and punters are protected from the threat of infection.

Here is a look at what bricks and mortar casinos have done to adapt to this new era and what options visitors have if they want to stay as safe as possible.

Overcoming challenging circumstances

When the pandemic began in earnest, players were unable to visit their favorite casinos whatsoever.  Thankfully with the PA online casino guide at, eager gamblers were able to continue enjoying their pastime in spite of the mitigating circumstances.

Beginning in early June, casinos began re-opening, although there were significant changes both to top level aspects like maximum customer capacities as well as to more specific facets of the services available and the experience that visitors can expect.

For example, Philadelphia’s flagship casino operated by Harrah’s was one of the first to welcome back customers once state-wide restrictions were lifted, and it did so with a 50 per cent cap on capacity.  The main purpose of this tighter limit on the number of people allowed inside at any one time is to allow social distancing guidelines to be followed, as well as to give staff the chance to cope with the new regimen for hygiene, health and safety that is now in place.

In addition to cutting the capacity, Harrah’s also took steps to slash the number of slot machines that are operational.  The machines themselves were not removed, but rather simply left inactive so that suitable spaces between players could be created to stop anyone having to get too close to other customers unnecessarily.

Table games on the main casino floor are up and running, although again the number of players who can participate has been reduced to maintain social distance.  Meanwhile closures of private poker rooms are still in effect, since these are much smaller spaces in which keeping a safe distance would not be possible.

Other aspects of Harrah’s are also closed, including its Topgolf Swing Suite, as a direct result of the threat posed by the coronavirus.  Even so, the situation is far better than it was during the first weeks of the crisis.

Customer responsibilities

It is not just the casinos that are having to implement and ensure employee adherence to new protocols in the wake of the pandemic; visitors are also expected to heed the new rules or else face the likelihood of not being allowed inside in the first place.

For example, the wearing of face masks is mandatory for those wishing to enter Harrah’s and other land-based venues of this kind.  This applies not just to customers, but also to staff.

Unsurprisingly the rules on face coverings have been embraced as a branding opportunity by most resort operators, and masks are often provided free of charge to players as one of the perks they receive upon arrival.  It is good to see these steps being taken in a way that is fun and inclusive, even if it is still a safety precaution at its core.

Not every casino is making face masks a must-wear for guests, although even if this is optional it still makes sense to wear one from a safety perspective.

Another important protocol change is that employees are receiving temperature checks before they arrive for their shifts, so that anyone with an unusually high temperature can be sent home because of the fact that this is a key symptom of COVID-19 infection.

Alterations to opening hours

The final major change that has been brought about as a result of the global response to the pandemic is the need to increase the frequency with which casinos are cleaned, in addition to making this process far more thorough than ever before.

For this reason, many of the largest casinos in the state have implemented temporary changes to opening hours so that deep cleans can be carried out outside of peak visiting times.  For some, like the Rivers Casino in Philadelphia, this means closing very early in the morning for 3 or 4 hours.  For others, 24-hour opening is still in place, but certain areas may be closed for cleaning throughout the day.

In short, making yourself aware of the specific protocols used by casinos in Pennsylvania before you visit is a good idea, as there can be variations and your visit will be smoother if you know all of this ahead of time.