Iowa Casino Prairie Meadows and many other commercial entertainment properties can reopen their doors to the public on 1st of June, but under a string of really very strict regulations and safeguards designed state authorities to protect employees and guests from the deadly corona virus.
Kim Reynolds, Iowa’s Republican governor, ordered Prairie Meadows Casino Resort and 18 other commercial entertainment properties to suspend operations effective 17th of March this year after corona virus outbreak. The state’s Public Health Disaster Emergency order is effective through 25th of June. But the Republican governor said she issued orders beforehand to permit certain businesses, including casinos, to reopen at the beginning of next month.
The governor’s newest order permits casino resorts, skating rinks, skate parks, outdoor performance destinations, outdoor playgrounds, bowling alleys, amusement parks and outdoor playgrounds to reopen on the very first day of next month but only if they strictly implement public health measures. On last Saturday, the state’s health officials recorded 26 corona-caused deaths, the highest single-day figure thus far. The state has the 12th highest per capita corona virus rate in the entire nation.
Making the announcement, Reynolds said, “Recovery means striking a balance between getting life and business back to normal while continuing to manage the virus activity. Our recovery is contingent upon our ability to protect both the lives and livelihoods of Iowans. We can’t prioritize one over the other.”
Casino operators, who may be interested to reopen and resume operations on 1st of June, will have to restrict the number of guests on the gaming floor and betting area to 50 percent. They will also have to decrease the number of gaming positions, including slot machines and table game seats, by 50 per cent.
In addition, all casinos in the state will have to ensure social distancing by keeping gaming seats at least 6 feet apart. For table games, they will have to install protective barriers like plexiglass to prevent direct touch or contact as corona virus spreads through touch. Buffets, salad bars in casino restaurants will remain closed. Hygiene practices must be enhanced.
Casinos have been among the worst-hit businesses in wake of corona virus outbreak. In 2019, Prairie Meadows generated GGR of $208.28 million, but that figure is expected to see a steep decline this year as the casino remained closed for more than a couple of months. Moreover, business conditions are not expected to return to normal for the many months to come.