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Indiana Casinos Adjusting To ‘New Normal’ Amid Safety Restrictions

Indiana casinos have been open again for a week, and while they are enjoying having guests again, managing safety restrictions can be a challenge.

If you’re in the Hoosier State and you want to hit some slots, your present experience could be very different from three months ago. This includes several aspects of your visits to Indiana casinos.

These changes range from face mask requirements to fewer gaming positions and continued suspended services. It’s all designed to make the experience as safe as possible.

New safety protocols at Indiana casinos

The Indiana Gaming Commission gave all the state’s casinos, off-track betting sites, racetracks, and racinos permission to reopen their doors on June 15. In the week since then, casinos have seen a flurry of activity.

For example, Horseshoe Hammond had a line stretched around its building when it opened. Some people may have waited in that line for a while, as the state mandated that casinos could only operate at half of their fire code capacity.

Among other mandates at IN casinos were health questionnaires, ID checks, and temperature checks for each guest. The state also requires gamblers playing table games to wear masks.

Some of the operators have voluntarily chosen to go above and beyond the state mandates. For example, Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City installed plexiglass barriers throughout the building.

Casino-goers should also expect to see the continued suspension of some amenities. These include self-service buffets and valet parking. Casino patrons have to observe new rules regarding smoking areas as well.

There may be other restrictions as deemed by city and county governments. Patrons should check with their casinos of choice to see what local protocols are.

While there’s no hard-and-fast timeline for lifting these restrictions statewide, the earliest that could happen is July 4. Whether that will happen will depend on the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 5 of Gov. Holcomb’s reopening plan

When Gov. Eric Holcomb announced his multistage reopening plan, he set a tentative timeline for lifting all restrictions on facilities like casinos. Independence Day, July 4, was the target date.

According to the Indianapolis Star, the state’s health department reported 277 new cases and 13 new fatalities on Monday. That number was below recent trends, but not all the news is great.

Seven counties have seen a recent rise in positive tests. Five of those counties are in the northwestern part of the state, where several IN casinos also reside.

While emergency room visits across all demographics are trending downward, that isn’t the case for Indianans between the ages of 40 and 49. ER visits in that age group are actually on the rise.

If this activity continues, restrictions may not lift uniformly for all IN casinos on Independence Day. That may end up being a city-by-city or county-by-county decision as opposed to a statewide standard.

Even beyond July 4, the fact that the state no longer mandates restrictions does not necessarily mean casinos will rescind new practices. They may continue to limit capacity, for example, to reassure guests about the safety of visiting.

IN casinos are open, but there is a new normal at these facilities. Indianans will have to adjust if they want to get back to gaming immediately.

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