Wind Creek Bethlehem casino reopened at 6 a.m. Monday in Pennsylvania.
About 100 people waited in line for the casino to open that morning, said Kathy McCracken, the property’s executive vice president and general manager.
"We had lines this morning, guests excited to come in," said Julia Corwin, executive director of brand marketing for Wind Creek, WFMZ reports. "We are here to have a place of escape for our guests and just to have some fun."
Like other businesses, they'll continue to follow strict guidelines for the health and safety of others. Wind Creek will now operate through game floor reservations to limit the number of people allowed inside at once. If the casino doesn't hit capacity, walk-ins will be welcome, but there's a greater chance of having to wait in line.
Only around 1,200 slots, out of a usual 3,045, are up and running, as reported by The Morning Call. The casino deactivated many slots and removed chairs, ensuring guests stay apart. Table games dealers wear face shields and sanitize often. At blackjack tables, only two players are allowed per table. Therefore, the casino is operating at even less than 50% occupancy, the level permitted by the state’s green phase of reopening that the Lehigh Valley reached Friday.
Social distancing will be in effect in the line to get inside, and employees will take guests' temperatures at the door. Masks are required at all times from both the guests and staff on duty. Hoods on sweatshirts must be kept down and hats should be off. Smoking is not allowed on the casino floor, or in public spaces or bathrooms for the time being.
Wind Creek officials say they'll be cleaning multiple times a day and will close at 3 a.m. each day for a deep cleaning. "Stations are being sanitized throughout the day. We will be closing periodically throughout the night to do a thorough deep clean of the casino floor," Corwin said.
The same rules for guests will apply to all employees working at the Wind Creek as well. Officials also have an incident response plan in case a guest or team member does test positive for the virus.
With Wind Creek’s reopening, followed by the opening of Parx Casino in Bucks County at 9 a.m. Monday, 11 of Pennsylvania’s casinos have now reopened. The only one not yet open is Rivers Casino Philadelphia, which has not set a reopening date as local officials there have opted to maintain additional restrictions until Friday.
During the pandemic, Wind Creek Bethlehem paid its roughly 2,400 employees through the end of May but furloughed 2,095 of them June 1, as the downturn entered its third month.
Moving forward, the casino expects to make changes as necessary. Wind Creek had a soft opening over the weekend, with small groups of invited guests who tested the site’s new policies. Among the changes already planned: the casino’s hours of 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. will be pushed this weekend to 7 a.m. to 5 a.m., allowing the casino to extend its overnight hours but still leaving enough time for a deep cleaning while closed. Plexiglass barriers also could follow soon between slot machines.