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Horseshoe Casino outlines reopening plan as they await guidance from Baltimore on when it will be allowed

The Horseshoe Casino has new protocols to curtail the spread of the coronavirus when they are permitted by the city to reopen for business.

While Horseshoe Casino awaits guidance from Baltimore leaders as to when it will be allowed to start to reopen, its general manager said they will limit people at table and slots games as well as offering hand sanitizer throughout the facility.

Horseshoe General Manager Randy Conroy gave members of the media a look at how the casino will operate once the mayor declares that they can reopen, saying that the casino will delay introducing poker while reintroducing table games, slots and restaurants in a limited capacity.

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While Gov. Larry Hogan issued guidance allowing Maryland casinos to reopen at 5 p.m. Friday, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young has moved more slowly in lifting coronavirus restrictions. Horseshoe falls under the umbrella of Caesars Entertainment, which has developed a number of proposals the company says will allow it to safely reopen its casino locations throughout the country.

“As we’ve learned things from our sister properties, we’ve applied those best practices here in Baltimore,” Conroy said.

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And after Las Vegas allowed its casinos to reopen June 4 following two-plus-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Conroy said the company has learned that demand is high.

“What we’ve learned from our sister properties throughout the country is there’s been more demand from customers than expected,” he said. “So I’m hoping that’s the case here in Baltimore here as well.”

Walking through rows of empty slot machines and blackjack tables, some of the changes are immediately noticeable.

While staff members took media members’ temperatures via an infrared thermometer at the door, Conroy said the casino is prepared to install thermal cameras once they get the green light to reopen, allowing them to gauge the temperatures of visitors as they enter the casino.

Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above will not be allowed inside the casino, Conroy said. Masks will also be required and provided on site for visitors and staff.

Only half of the casino’s 2,100 slot machines will be turned on and table games will be limited to three players per table, measures Conroy said were meant to promote social distancing. Players who are waiting for seats will be notified electronically when a spot is available.

There are buckets of sanitizing wipes near slot machines and hand sanitizer at the table games. Conroy said the casino has over 1,000 gallons of hand sanitizer available and that the casino will disinfect the area a player was in once they leave a table game.

The poker room has been converted into a warehouse of cleaning supplies, with boxes of hand sanitizing wipes and sanitizing liquid stacked on top of tables that would normally be filled with people handling cards and gambling in close proximity.

The goal is to have the casino open up its floor in a limited capacity alongside some of its eateries. Conroy said the casino’s marketplace food court will be open every day under the new plan, but with additional measures in place to promote social distancing. Parties must be limited to six people or less, for example.

The Gordon Ramsay Steak steakhouse restaurant would open Fridays and Saturdays under the plan, but again with social distancing measures.

However, when the casino reopens still comes down to when Baltimore’s mayor says Horseshoe is allowed.

However, as with other restrictions he has lifted, it is up to municipality or county to decide when to institute those changes. Young has yet to lay out a timeline for the casino to reopen.

While Conroy said the lack of a timeline is “a little disappointing, frankly,” he was quick to say that the casino will follow the city’s guidance.

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