Chasers Poker Stayed Open After Employees Tested Positive For COVID-19

Posted By Derek Helling on November 16, 2020 - Last Updated on November 17, 2020

If you plan to visit a poker room in New Hampshire anytime soon, you might want to arm yourself with not only personal protective equipment such as facemasks, but also the latest COVID-19 data in the state.

The recent Chasers Poker coronavirus situation is a reminder of the danger the virus still poses to everyone.

Three employees at the Salem poker room recently tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. Chasers, though, remained open for days thereafter. Moreover, Chasers’ messaging since that time doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

The details on the Chasers Poker coronavirus situation

According to an internal email, several employees at Chasers Poker worked in the room from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12. It’s unclear exactly when the poker room became aware of the positive tests.

What’s left to the imagination throughout all this information is a list of very important questions for players and workers alike to try to answer:

  • Have any more of the poker room’s employees been tested since Nov. 6?
  • If so, what were the results of those tests?
  • Will Chasers provide testing for employees?
  • Will Chasers provide hazard pay for employees who choose to work?
  • For employees who opt out, will they forfeit all their pay?

Even if you ignore the improper usage of “there” in the image in the above Tweet, a recent Facebook post does nothing but raise some more eyebrows.

Other messaging doesn’t inspire confidence in protocols

The post from early Sunday morning communicates that the poker room would voluntarily close for the balance of that day and Monday. It also demonstrates a lack of understanding of contact tracing and viral incubation periods.

“As we always have, we follow the direction of the governing bodies,” Chasers Poker posted on Facebook. “Yesterday we specifically asked the DHHS if there is a recommendation to close. The answer was: No.

“Today some of our team is getting calls asking them to quarantine. Even though there have been no new positive cases. We are going to close today and tomorrow to get a better understanding of the calls and what they mean. We apologize to the players who want to play and to our team who wants to work. This virus has made all decisions to have to be fluid and we will continue to work with the DHHS. Stay safe and sane.”

Coronavirus can take as many as 14 days to incubate in the body. During that time, a person may test negative for the virus even though they are actually carrying it. Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who have come into contact with others who have tested positive.

Therefore, it’s good practice for those who worked alongside the three Chasers employees who tested positive to isolate themselves at least through the incubation period when they could register a definite negative test.

While most of the state’s 12 poker rooms remain open with precautions similar to that which Chasers claims to be taking, that may not be the status quo for much longer.

New Hampshire not immune from worsening trend

Like people in the rest of the country, New Hampshirites need to take every precaution possible to avoid transmission of the virus. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services reported 361 new positive tests on Sunday.

That was a slight decline from the 384 new cases Saturday. However, from Nov. 9 to Nov. 15, the state saw 2,200 new cases. The state hasn’t made a move to close poker rooms yet, but recommends patrons do all of the following:

  • Avoid touching your face as much as possible
  • Keep a distance of at least six feet
  • Sanitize hands at every opportunity
  • Wear a face mask over your mouth and nose

As Chasers noted, whether players attend New Hampshire poker rooms is up to them right now. If they choose to go, players should be aware of the risk of doing so and take precautions.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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