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Coachella Valley casinos prepare to reopen following coronavirus closures

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Workers wiped down slot machines at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella.    

Hourly cleaning of each machine is just one of several new measures in place that you will see on your next visit to the casino, according to General Manager Ryan Walker.

“Personally I’ve worked harder more during this period of closure than I have during the normal operation.  There is a lot of strategy, a lot of unknowns.  We’ve never encountered something like this before,” said Walker. 

Other changes will include temperature checks for every guest before entering the casino, requiring masks for all guests and employees, and sanitizing stations placed throughout the casino.

Also, guests will see socially distanced tables and chairs and more plexiglass. 

Walker says they’re following directives from the CDC and state and county governments.  

They don’t yet have an estimated opening date, but when they do open, the number of guests will be limited to 50 percent the normal capacity. 

Guests entering the casino will be greeted by a large digital bill board which details the policies and protocols in place aimed at keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Over at Augustine Casino in Coachella, they too are following guidelines from the CDC and the World Health Organization while adopting many of the same protective measures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus. 

Smoking will not be permitted.

Food and beverage service will be “minimal”, and table games will be removed to allow more space between each slot machine according to General Manager Jeff Bauer.

“Just cleaning alone and spacing and all of the things we have to think about are going to create a whole new normal for us and most of that I believe will be semi-permanent,” said Bauer.        

Bauer says the casino has lost more than $10 million as a result of the closure and says it won’t be until early 2021 when the casino is back in the black.

Bauer says the date they’re targeting to reopen is June 1st, but says that could change.   

News Channel 3 reached out to the other valley casinos to learn about their plans for reopening. 

We’ll pass along that information as soon as it is shared with us. 

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.

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