As some casinos and gaming operations resume in some areas of the United States, CDC offers the following considerations for ways in which casino and gaming operators can help protect staff and customers and slow the spread of COVID-19.
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Casinos and gaming operations can determine, in collaboration with local, state, territorial, federal, or tribal health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. For more information on bars and restaurants within casinos, please see CDC’s Considerations for Restaurants and Bars. These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any local, state, territorial, federal, or tribal safety laws, rules, or regulations with which businesses must comply.
Guiding Principles to Keep in Mind
The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in a casino or gaming setting as follows:
Know How the Virus Spreads
The virus that causes COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. Infected people can spread the virus whether or not they have symptoms. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as handwashing, staying home when sick) and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important principles that are covered in this document.
Fortunately, there are a number of actions operators of casinos and gaming operations can take to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread.
Promoting Behaviors that Reduce Spread
Casinos and gaming operations may consider implementing strategies to encourage behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19 among staff and customers.
Staying Home when Appropriate
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Educate staff and customers about when they should stay home.
Actively encourage staff and customers to stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19.Encourage staff and customers who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days to stay home and monitor their health.
The best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home for 14 days if you think you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. Check your local health department’s website for information about options in your area to possibly shorten this quarantine period.
Consult CDC criteria to inform policies on when staff can return to work and when customers can return to the casino if they had symptoms of COVID-19, tested positive for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Develop policies that encourage sick staff to stay at home without fear of being punished or losing their jobs, and ensure staff are aware of these policies. Educate staff when they can return to work.
Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
Recommend and reinforce frequent staff and customer hand hygiene behaviors (e.g., before, during, and after touching gaming tokens, cards, and other frequently touched surfaces). Encourage handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, provide hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Remind staff and customers to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Encourage staff and customers to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or to use the inside of their elbow. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not readily available, provide hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Recommend and reinforce the use of masks among staff and customers. Masks should be worn as feasible and are most essential in times when social distancing is difficult. Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the mask and to wash their hands frequently. Provide information to staff and customers on proper use, removal, and washing of masks.
Note: Masks should not be placed on:
Babies and children younger than 2 years old
Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
Masks are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected and does not have symptoms.
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Ensure you have accessible sinks and enough supplies for people to clean their hands and cover their coughs and sneezes. Supplies include soap and water, a way to dry hands (e.g., paper towels, hand dryer), tissues, no-touch/foot pedal trash cans (preferably covered), masks (as feasible), and hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol (placed adjacent to every card table or table game, if supplies allow).
Signs and Messages
Post signs in highly visible locations (e.g., at entrances, in restrooms, on televisions) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs, such as by properly washing hands and properly wearing a mask. Provide signs and messages in multiple languages.
Broadcast regular announcements about reducing the spread of COVID-19 on PA systems. Include messages (for example, videos) about behaviors that prevent spread of COVID-19 when communicating with staff and customers (such as on business websites, in emails, and on social media). Ensure messages are culturally appropriate.
Find free CDC print and digital resources in a variety of languages on CDC’s communications resources main page.