The state’s bars and casinos are still waiting to get the okay from the governor to reopen after restrictions were lifted on restaurants and many other businesses.
Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator Brian Ohorilko says the 19 state-licensed casinos will follow a thoughtful, slow process when they are given the green light. “It’s not just a situation where when they can open that we’ll see the doors spring open and lots of people come in and we’re back to how things used to be that will certainly not be the case,” Ohorilko says.
Ohorilko says he expects there will be limits on how many people will be allowed at each property. “So customers may not be able to touch the cards as much as they used to, we’ll see seating removed to promote social distancing,” he explains.
Buffet meals have been a staple at the casinos and he says they will likely have a new look too. “Many of the food and beverage outlets, I do not believe we’ll see customers being able to get their own food like you would see at a normal buffet,” Ohorilko says.
The casinos saw thousands of customers come through their doors every day before they were shut down.
The state’s busiest casino, Prairie Meadows in Altoona, shut down on March 16th, and the governor ordered all casinos to close as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus shortly after that.
(Pat Blank of Iowa Public Radio contributed to this story.)