aine’s two casinos will be allowed to reopen this week after state officials agreed to a pandemic safety plan that will limit capacity to 200 people.
With gatherings still limited to 50 people, Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said the main halls will be split into four separate zones, each with a 50-person capacity. “That was big change and a big move that really allowed the casinos to be viable. With a location that big it would be difficult if it was just 50 people,” he said, as reported by Maine Public.
Sauschuck said requirements include face-coverings for customers and dealers and six-foot social distancing at table games and slot machines. He noted that casinos are highly controlled environments, with strong HVAC systems and remote-controlled slot machines. “Technology-wise, we can actually shut off games, so we can work with them to provide social distance because we do have a central monitoring system,” he said.
Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor is owned by Penn National Gaming. The casino’s website says it plans to reopen this Friday.
Oxford Casino Hotel General Manager Jack Sours said owner Churchill Downs hopes to set a reopening date soon. He anticipates bringing more than 100 workers back, and he’s hopeful the state will allow increased capacity once the facility proves it can manage expansion safely.
“We’ll have four 50-person quadrants for a total of 200 guests that could be in the building at one time. And we’ll manage those quadrants independently, so as the guest goes through the casino they’ll have to come to a checkpoint, and then we’ll say, ‘Yes you can go into that one, there’s availability,’ or ‘No this one’s full, you’ll have to go to the next quadrant to find a game,’” Sours said.
Together the casinos employ almost 800 people. They also provide a number of monthly payments to various interests designated by state law, including tens of millions of dollars a year for the state’s general fund and education department, several million for the state’s tribes, millions for the harness racing industry and many smaller recipients.