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Black Hawk, Central City casinos allowed to reopen on Wednesday

Only slot machines are allowed for now. The state says gaming tables will be considered again in three weeks.

GILPIN COUNTY, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has approved a variance to the state's safer-at-home order that will allow casinos in Black Hawk and Central City to reopen with some restrictions, three months after they were ordered by the state to close.

CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan informed the Gilpin County Board of Commissioners in a letter dated June 6 that the county's request had been approved, with some amendments.

The letter states that for all settings, the following requirements apply:

  • In order to achieve six feet of social distancing, the limit pursuant to the variance is 50% of the posted occupancy code limit ensuring a minimum 28 square feet per person not to exceed more than 175 people at any given time in a confined indoor space, and 250 people in any outdoor setting. 
  • Employees and contracted workers shall be monitored daily for symptoms, and symptomatic employees shall be excluded from the workplace and isolated until they are fever-free for 72 hours, other symptoms have improved, and at least 10 days have passed since they became symptomatic. 
  • Provide accommodations for employees at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 who remain encouraged to follow the Stay at Home requirements. 
  • Require signage on doors telling guests that are experiencing COVID-like symptoms not to enter, and recommend that the sign posted at the door is the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] sign.

For now, the state will only allow slot machines to open. Gaming tables are not approved, but the letter said that will be considered again in three weeks.

The state is also requiring that any bus systems that transport people to the casinos must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis and cleaned between each transport.

The Gilpin County Board of Public Health approved an order Sunday providing guidance for the reopening of casinos, according to a release from the city of Black Hawk. The plan is to have them open their doors on June 17. The delay will give operators time to call back furloughed employees and sufficiently implement safety procedures and protocols, the release said.

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The variance also allows museums to reopen, as long as certain requirements are met.

The letter notes that Gilpin County has had five confirmed cases of COVID-19, and that community testing of all symptomatic residents began on June 2.

Colorado casinos were ordered to close in March to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Teller County has also requested a variance to allow its casinos to reopen, but that has not been approved. CDPHE said in a letter dated May 22 that it would be issuing guidance around casinos soon.

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