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Reopening gaming facilities subject of Thursday meeting

The Nevada Gaming Commission will meet virtually Thursday to discuss how to resume gaming operations that were shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and safety policies for the resumption of gaming operations will be considered for possible action at this meeting.

An agenda for the meeting states that all final decisions on how gaming establishments reopen will be determined by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and presented to the commission for ratification.

The agenda noted that Gov. Steve Sisolak’s “Nevada United:” Roadmap to Recovery” plan assumes gaming operations will not resume in the beginning stage of recovery, and “it will be incumbent upon the Board to ensure the safe reopening of gaming operations in this State.”

Each gaming establishment with an unrestricted license must submit a plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at least seven days before reopening occurs. The commission’s agenda stated that each licensee “shall clean and disinfect all of its hard and soft surfaces” according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Employees must be trained on those procedures and on methods of preventing the spread of infectious disease, including social distancing, handwashing and not spreading germs in the workplace.

Such training must be documented.

The commission told licensees to use the CDC’s “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19” when implementing their plans. Signage should be posted throughout the property to remind employees and patrons of proper hygiene, and employees should be told to stay home if they do not feel well and to contact a supervisor if they notice a co-worker or patron experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

The commission went on to suggest possible recommendations for gaming areas. Plans must address how gaming machines, chairs and other ancillary equipment will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis as well as the availability of hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes for patron use on the gaming floor. Plans must ensure that the floor plan creates proper social distancing, and the commission suggested removing chairs and stools from in front of every other machine so patrons do not sit next to each other.

The number of patrons at table games should be based on the type of game to ensure proper distance, with suggested limits of three players per blackjack table, six players per craps table and four players per roulette and poker tables.

Plans also will be expected to ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of “table games, rails, chairs, dice, card shoes, shufflers, roulette wheels, Pai Gow tiles, pit podiums, blackjack discard holders and toke boxes when a new player or employee comes into contact” with any of the equipment.

The commission went on to suggest possible rules regarding occupancy in race and sports books, keno lounges and bingo halls, along with reduced seating for restaurants and bars. Nightclubs and dayclubs must remain closed until further notice.

Similar policy possibilities were listed for restricted licensees.

The commission concluded by noting the policy “is subject to revision by the Board based on recommendations from federal, state and local health authorities related to the spread of COVID-19” and stated the board will keep licensees updated on any changes so their plans can be updated.

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