The two Maine casinos are on the verge of ending their state-mandated shutdowns. It will be far from back to business as normal at both facilities, however.
New Hampshirites who have missed visiting the Hollywood and Oxford casinos will find new layouts and policies in place if they decide to visit either soon. It’s all designed to protect everyone involved from COVID-19.
New safety protocols at Maine casinos
Casino operators have worked with regulators in Maine to develop new protocols for operation. Operating under the new guidelines for the indefinite future, both casinos can reopen soon.
The new capacity for both facilities is 200 guests. The new rules also specify that those guests must be segmented into groups of no more than 50 people.
Casinos will use drapes to separate the sections. Within those sections, guests must maintain at least 6 feet of separation while gambling. Guests must also wear face masks the entire time they are on the premises.
The offerings for those guests won’t be as robust as normal. Both casinos will limit slots to promote distancing. Table games will not be open for the time being as well.
The same goes for the buffets at both casinos. Dining options will be limited as well. The Hollywood plans to close from midnight to 9 a.m. each day to allow for cleaning.
So far, the Hollywood has been the only Maine casino to announce a date and time for its reopening. If everything goes well, the Hollywood will welcome guests again starting at noon on Friday, July 10.
How soon the Oxford will follow suit is uncertain right now. Located in a town of the same name, it’s the closer of the two Maine casinos to the New Hampshire border. Making the trip to Bangor, where the Hollywood operates, might be the best option for New Hampshirites soon.
Massachusetts casinos just starting to reopen
The three commercial casinos in New Hampshire’s neighbor to the south, Massachusetts, are in the early stages of their reopening as well. Plainridge Park opened its doors with restrictions on Wednesday, with Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield planning to do the same next week.
In a fashion similar to its counterparts in Maine, Plainridge limited its slot operations for distancing. It also installed plexiglass barriers and has limited its hours to allow for sanitation.
Both Encore and MGM plan to require guests to wear masks and will not offer table games for the foreseeable future. Encore will also ask guests to submit to temperature checks upon entering the facility. MGM is planning to run at just 25% of its normal capacity.
The out-of-state casino options for New Hampshirites are starting to become viable again. It may be quite sometime before those facilities return to what was normal before the pandemic hit, however.