Inside Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course the normal ring of slot machines aren't thundering on the floor. The clink of chips on a table have ceased. The normally packed chairs sit empty. But, not for long.
Hollywood Casino opens on Friday at 9 a.m. after a three-month shutdown of operations.
"Today is actually the day of three months being closed. So, it's the anniversary of three months" said Dan Ihm, Vice President and General Manager.
Ihm allowed FOX43 to grab the first look at the changes happening inside the casino Wednesday.
"We're just excited to open after three months. I'm excited for my team members and I'm excited for our guests," he said.
Ihm admits the revenue lost over the last three months is unlikely to be recovered before the end of the year. However, Ihm said they are doing as much as possible to welcome players back while also making players feel safe.
Hours of operation are changing from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. to allow for deep cleaning inside the casino property.
"We're also going to be doing a sanitization which is through a fogger. So, when we do that through a fogger it pretty much hits every single touchpoint in the entire casino including the carpets," said Ihm.
The casino must also follow certain social distancing standards and regulations through the state. Therefore, there is a mask requirement inside the facility.
"We are required to have all of our guests and our team members wearing masks. So, that is a requirement and it must cover your nose and your mouth," said Ihm.
A total of 1200 total slots will be in play when the casino first opens. Nearly 800 slot machine seats have been removed so players can space out between games. On 99 popular games where seats have not been removed, plexiglass dividers have been installed.
Chairs have also been spaced out at the table games that normally seat five to seven players.
"We have three spots and most of our table games are spread out. So, it's every other game which gives us a total of about 60% of our total amount of tables that we have," said Ihm.
Nearly 100 hand sanitizer machines and sanitizer wipe containers now exist on the property. Non-smoking areas have also been expanded to encompass 60% of the gaming floor.
Queue lines exist outside the casino doors as well to limit the number of people coming into the casino at any given time.
"By law, we're required to have 50% occupancy," said Ihm.
Plexiglass has been added inside the casino at point of sale areas to distance team members from guests. Drinks will be placed inside styrofoam and plastic glasses with lids including bottles of beer.
The complimentary self-serve stations for soda will also be closed.
"All the self-serve soda machines will be closed and that's why we have cocktail servers with carts going around with coffee, soft drinks, and water which again is all complimentary," said Ihm.
Hollywood Casino will open its 'Eatery' for food purchases but other restaurants inside the facility will remain closed.
Races will be held every Friday at 6 p.m with restricted access and a live feed on the third floor for visitors to watch.
"We have no valet, no poker," said Ihm. "Our sports wagering that's located on the second level will also be closed. However, we will have kiosks on the gaming floor and our cage. You can actually, we'll have a ticket writer there where you can make wagers and cash in any of your winning tickets," said Ihm.
Hollywood Casino staff is returning in phases and the casino will have around 50% (or around 500) of its team members back upon reopening.
STATEMENT BY DAN IHM, VICE PRESIDENT & GENERAL MANAGER, IN ADVANCE OF THE REOPENING OF HOLLYWOOD CASINO AT PENN NATIONAL RACE COURSE
“We are very excited to reopen Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course on Friday, June 19th, at 9:00 a.m. While the amenities our customers have come to know and love may be somewhat limited for the time being, the ability to safely welcome back our team members and guests remains our top priority. With this in mind, we have been working closely with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, state and local leaders, and public health officials to finalize comprehensive reopening protocols and new health and safety precautions. Our returning team members will be trained on these procedures and our guests will see reminder signage about them throughout the property. These new protocols include, but are not limited to, the following:
· We will limit capacity on our gaming floor to no more than 50% of our maximum occupancy.
· The installation of floor decals and signage to strictly enforce social distancing guidelines in areas where lines typically form.
· Table game seating will be limited, and slot machines will be configured to meet social distancing requirements.
· Live music, entertainment, convention, and banquet services will remain suspended.
· There will be no large drawings, tournaments, or special events.
· Restaurant offerings will be limited and serviced from The Eatery.
· Final Cut, Epic Buffet, Mountain View, Skybox, Paddock Café, Homestretch, and Main Event venues will remain closed.
· The poker room, Top Golf, H-Lounge and valet will also be closed.
HEALTH & SAFETY
· Team members and vendors will be required to wear masks and will undergo a health screening each day, including temperature checks, prior to their shift.
· Guests will be required to wear masks and must respond to a health screening prior to entry.
· Slot machines and table games will be thoroughly and regularly cleaned throughout the day.
· Sanitizer stations will be installed on the casino floor and be readily available throughout the facility.
· We will deploy a fog machine to disinfect and sanitize the property every night.
· The casino will be closed daily from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. for deep cleaning.
We are grateful for the overwhelming support, patience, and understanding from our customers through these unprecedented times, and can’t wait to welcome them back on Friday.”