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With coronavirus precautions, Hard Rock reopens Tampa, Sacramento casinos

James Leggate

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Hard Rock International opened two of its casinos Thursday for the first time in two months after the coronavirus pandemic temporarily shuttered its properties.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa in Florida and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain in California partially reopened with a number of COVID-19 safety precautions in place, Hard Rock Chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen told FOX Business.

“Frankly, the focus is on the safety of our employees and guests,” he said. “We’re certainly about the opportunity to bring our employees back to work.”

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More than 2,000 employees at the Tampa casino and more than 800 at the Sacramento property are returning to work, according to Allen. And other employees will be able to return to work as all the casinos’ restaurants and lounges reopen over time.

For now, the resorts will be limited to about 50 percent guest capacity. Everyone entering the facilities will have their temperature checked and anyone with a fever won’t be allowed in.

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All employees and guests will have to wear masks or other cloth face coverings that meet CDC guidelines. To promote social distancing, Plexiglas barriers divide players at table games and two out of every three slot machines will be turned off.

There will also be employees dedicated to cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, especially high-touch areas, and new hand-sanitizing stations have been added at entrances, on the casino floor and throughout the resorts.

“It is a ramping-up of the facility,” Allen said. “We did not want to open the facility 100 percent on day one. We did not feel that would be a safe thing to do for anyone involved.”

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Hard Rock has more than 260 locations worldwide, including a variety of owned, licensed or managed hotels, casinos, ships and restaurants. Allen said the company will be paying close attention to data and trends from the reopened facilities to apply in other jurisdictions where it becomes safe to reopen.

There aren’t any specific timelines for how soon other Hard Rock facilities may reopen. Allen said the company is working with local authorities and gaming commissions.

“Getting people back working again, being able to provide for their families is by far the most important priority for us,” he said. “But it has to be in a safe environment.”

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