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Mississippi Gaming Commission provides guidelines on how casinos can reopen

As casinos in Mississippi prepare to reopen next Thursday after more than eight weeks, they will be doing so following a set of strict reopening guidelines announced Friday by the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

The casinos across the state were closed March 16 by the Mississippi Gaming Commission in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Those guidelines not only provide a clear set of instructions for casinos and their team members but also for those showing up to play.

In addition to limiting the number of guests allowed in a casino to no more than 50 percent of the property’s maximum occupancy, the guidelines also require operations to screen those guests before they enter.

The guidelines say “Such screening shall include the following questions, and any guest answering any question in the affirmative shall not be permitted to enter the property: Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days? Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath or sore throat? Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours? Have you had new loss of taste or smell? Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?”

Waiting areas and lines will be marked to display social distancing standards and requires guests to stand six feet apart. “Staff will be stationed to enforce the social distancing standards.

“Guests not adhering to physical distancing and any other requirements will be advised of the requirements and warned that if they continue to disregard the requirements they will be asked to leave the property.”

The guidelines also call for casinos to provide masks to guests who are encouraged to wear those masks while on the property. During the initial screening, guests will be asked to use hand sanitizer.

As for the cleaning of the facilities, “such protocols will require, at a minimum, that all high-frequency touch-points and guest-facing counters will be sanitized at least once every two hours.”

Also, staff members will be screened daily with the same questions as patrons as they enter and staff members will be screened for elevated temperature at the beginning of their shift. “Staff members with a temperature over 100 degrees will not be allowed entry to the property and will be directed to consult their doctor.”

The guidelines also provide restrictions and guidance on how certain casino operations and games can be conducted.

Table games will be limited to three chairs/guests per table game. Table corners and middle seats shall remain at each table, all others shall be removed. There will be a three-player maximum on each side of the dice game and staff members shall sanitize table game rails after each guest leaves a game.

Staff members will also sanitize each chair area after each guest leaves a game. Also, dealers will sanitize dice for each new shooter. As for card games, dealers shall sanitize the exterior of the card shoe when entering the game and the interior of the card shoe when the game “goes dead.”

In regards to slot machines, “slot machines will be turned off and/or reconfigured with chairs removed to allow for a minimum of six feet separation between guests.” Staff members will be required to sanitize each operational slot machine at least once every four hours.

In addition to guidelines for the casino cages and sportsbook, the guidelines call on food service stations, service carts, beverage stations, counters, handrails and trays to be sanitized at least once per hour.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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