Maine’s casinos hope to reopen by end of week after state develops safety guidelines

The state has developed guidelines to allow for the reopening of Maine’s two casinos.Oxford Casino and Hollywood Casino Bangor have been closed for months due to the coronavirus outbreak. They remain among the few businesses waiting to fully reopen under the state plan to restart the economy. Under the new protocols for casinos, they are only allowed to have 200 total guests. The guests must be split into separate areas, with no more than 50 people.The separate areas will have their own access points and slot machines will be separated by games that have been turned off to allow for social distancing.State officials said the areas will also be separated by a pipe and draping system, which has been approved by public health officials, the gambling control unit and the fire marshal’s office.Visitors will also be required to wear face coverings while at the casinos, and 6-foot social distancing will be mandated at slot machines.Oxford Casino’s general manager said Wednesday that they hope to reopen by the end of the week.”We are very close to a final checklist, so we are going through the process inside right now to execute that checklist for the measures for safety against COVID-19,” general manager Jack Sours said.The casino will only offer slot machines to begin with. Sours said upon arrival, guests will have their temperature checked, leave their contact information for contract tracing purposes and be required to wear a mask at all times.He said food service on the casino floor will be limited.”Once we get opened and show we can do this in a safe and responsible manner, we hope to be able to lift those restrictions up and bring more people back,” Sours said.Sours said he expects long lines of people waiting to enter the casino due to the capacity restrictions. Sours added that they have brought back 150 of their approximately 500 full-time workers, and they are working to test all of them for COVID-19.Oxford Town Manager Butch Asselin said the reopening of the casino will be great news for the community.Asselin said the town receives $35,000 to $39,000 a week in revenue from the casino. “The town, we projected $2 million, and we are going to come in slightly under at $1.5 million for the fiscal year,” Asselin said about the revenue received from the casino.The funds provide services to the community, from the fire and rescue department to recreation activities.Asselin said thanks to a surplus balance the loss won’t have much of an impact on the town’s budget.”I anticipate we may, but I think the projections are such that we are either going to break even more or less.” Asselin said.Hollywood Casino said on its website that it plans to reopen on Friday at noon.Hollywood Casino said the number of slot machines will be limited and table games will not be open. Slot machines will be cleaned regularly, and sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the casino.The casino said restaurant offerings will be limited and its buffet will remain closed. Hollywood Casino will be closed from midnight to 9 a.m. daily for cleaning.Both casinos said they worked with state officials to develop the guidelines to safely reopen.

The state has developed guidelines to allow for the reopening of Maine’s two casinos.

Oxford Casino and Hollywood Casino Bangor have been closed for months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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They remain among the few businesses waiting to fully reopen under the state plan to restart the economy.

Under the new protocols for casinos, they are only allowed to have 200 total guests. The guests must be split into separate areas, with no more than 50 people.

The separate areas will have their own access points and slot machines will be separated by games that have been turned off to allow for social distancing.

State officials said the areas will also be separated by a pipe and draping system, which has been approved by public health officials, the gambling control unit and the fire marshal’s office.

Visitors will also be required to wear face coverings while at the casinos, and 6-foot social distancing will be mandated at slot machines.

Oxford Casino’s general manager said Wednesday that they hope to reopen by the end of the week.

“We are very close to a final checklist, so we are going through the process inside right now to execute that checklist for the measures for safety against COVID-19,” general manager Jack Sours said.

The casino will only offer slot machines to begin with.

Sours said upon arrival, guests will have their temperature checked, leave their contact information for contract tracing purposes and be required to wear a mask at all times.

He said food service on the casino floor will be limited.

“Once we get opened and show we can do this in a safe and responsible manner, we hope to be able to lift those restrictions up and bring more people back,” Sours said.

Sours said he expects long lines of people waiting to enter the casino due to the capacity restrictions.

Sours added that they have brought back 150 of their approximately 500 full-time workers, and they are working to test all of them for COVID-19.

Oxford Town Manager Butch Asselin said the reopening of the casino will be great news for the community.

Asselin said the town receives $35,000 to $39,000 a week in revenue from the casino.

“The town, we projected $2 million, and we are going to come in slightly under at $1.5 million for the fiscal year,” Asselin said about the revenue received from the casino.

The funds provide services to the community, from the fire and rescue department to recreation activities.

Asselin said thanks to a surplus balance the loss won’t have much of an impact on the town’s budget.

“I anticipate we may, but I think the projections are such that we are either going to break even more or less.” Asselin said.

Hollywood Casino said on its website that it plans to reopen on Friday at noon.

Hollywood Casino said the number of slot machines will be limited and table games will not be open.

Slot machines will be cleaned regularly, and sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the casino.

The casino said restaurant offerings will be limited and its buffet will remain closed. Hollywood Casino will be closed from midnight to 9 a.m. daily for cleaning.

Both casinos said they worked with state officials to develop the guidelines to safely reopen.