Went to Rivers Casino (formerly Sugar House) in Philly during a pub crawl with my brother. Casino was pretty decent sized, had a good selection of tables and slots, with a few bars as well. Located in the Northern Liberties neighborhood (I think), it is the most centrally located of the Philly casinos. Rivers Casino is Philadelphia's hottest gaming destination on the waterfront with thrilling slots & table games, live entertainment & the best restaurants.
COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania are at record highs. On Nov. 13, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that there were 5,531 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 254,387. It is the fourth consecutive day that the state has reported a record number of cases.
Play Pennsylvania asked the PA Department of Health if the rising numbers meant a return to the color-coded phases and possible temporary closures for casinos in Pennsylvania.
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A representative responded:
“There is no plan at this time to return to the red, yellow, green mitigation steps and stay-at-home order that occurred in the spring.”
Some tips to slow the spread
The PA Department of Health reiterated that it was very concerned about the increase in cases. The representative said:
“We currently have protections in place, like wearing a mask and limits on large gatherings. Pennsylvanians can stop the spread. It is all of our responsibility to do the right thing. These are things that we can continue to do to stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Isolating or quarantining if you test positive or have exposure to someone who has.
- Businesses limiting capacity to 50%.”
More restrictions for Philadelphia?
Of the record number of cases reported on Friday, 1,158 were from Philadelphia. Mayor Jim Kenney’s office did not provide any indication of what its “changes in restrictions” might be and said they are still being finalized. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley earlier this week said all restrictions are being considered, even a complete lockdown, according to Yahoo! News.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia is currently the only casino within the city limits. Live! Casino Philadelphia is expected to open in early 2021.
Rivers Philadelphia closed in mid-March and reopened on July 17. It experienced the longest closure of all 12 casinos in the commonwealth.
We must do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Philadelphia. Specific details are still being finalized, but we plan to announce changes to restrictions on Monday, November 16. https://t.co/fgAPsfbU3P
— Jim #MaskUpPHL Kenney (@PhillyMayor) November 13, 2020
Health and safety protocols at PA casinos
Before you visit a casino in Pennsylvania, there are few things you should know. Your next visit will look different than your previous pre-coronavirus-closure casino excursion. Per the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), all casinos in the state must follow COVID-19 Casino Reopening Protocols, which detail the minimum safety and health-related requirements that are mandatory before reopening.
Key points to remember are:
- Casinos can reopen at 50% capacity.
- Employees and guests must wear masks.
- There are markings on the floor to promote social distancing.
- Enhanced cleaning is required throughout the facility.
Eating, drinking and smoking at PA casinos
In addition to the increased health and safety measures, some staples of casino visits have been put on a temporary pause.
Alcohol can only be served when food is purchased. Drink service on the casino floor is prohibited.
These new rules went into effect well before the November record-breaking numbers.
Under the guidance of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the PGCB, there is currently no smoking in Pennsylvania casinos either (effective July 3).
Gov. Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine signed orders that mandated restaurants can’t serve alcohol for on-site consumption past 11 p.m. (effective Sept 21).
Hours of PA casinos
Casinos in Pennsylvania started to close in mid-March to slow the spread of coronavirus. They were closed for over 100 days before the first few started welcoming back guests in June. However, not all returned to around-the-clock operations.
Casinos in PA open 24 hours:
- Presque Isle
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia
- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh (starting Nov. 16)
- Mount Airy Casino
- Wind Creek Casino
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
Hours of other casinos in PA
- Sunday-Thursday, 8-4 a.m.
- Friday-Saturday, 8-5 a.m.
Valley Forge Casino :
- Monday-Thursday, 10-3 a.m. Open 24 hours, 10 a.m. Friday through 3 a.m. Monday.
- Closed daily from 4 to 8 a.m. for deep cleaning.
Lady Luck Nemacolin:
- Open 24 hours for slot gaming
- Table games hours:
Monday-Friday, 3-12 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.-12 a.m.
1% of casino employees test positive
The PGCB released figures last week that showed that fewer than 1% of casinos employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the 12 brick-and-mortar locations opened in June. Rivers Pittsburgh had 28 cases and Parx had 25. A full breakdown can be found here.
Online casinos in PA
If you are 21+ and physically located in Pennsylvania, you don’t even have to leave your home to play. There are now 11 online casinos in Pennsylvania. Things got even livelier this week as Caesars and FanDuellaunched online live dealer games.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
Rivers Casino Philadelphia will close on Friday, Nov. 20, and not reopen until at least Jan. 1, 2021, as a result of a series of changes to the current restrictions by the City of Philadelphia to slow the surge of coronavirus cases.
Also, fans may no longer attend games at Lincoln Financial Field. Under the “Safer at Home” order, gatherings cannot exceed 2,000 people in any outdoor space.
“We may be tired of COVID, but COVID’s not tired of us,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley.
New restrictions for Philadelphia
In a press release that detailed the new “Safer at Home” restrictions,casinos fall under the category of “business and activities that are not allowed.”
Currently, Rivers Casino Philadelphia is the only casino within Philadelphia city limits. Live! Casino Philadelphia is scheduled to open in early 2021. The South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook, according to the orders, will also have to temporarily close.
During a Monday afternoon press conference, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney pointed out that the average number of reported COVID-19 positive cases has jumped at least 700% in less than two months. The average number of new cases reported per day last week was higher than the number of reported cases during the worst week in April.
“Strains on our hospitals are already showing,” said Kenney, who added that hospitalizations have jumped 600% in the last seven weeks.
“We do not take any of this lightly. Believe me, more than anything in the world, I wish none of this was necessary. But there is no doubt these changes are necessary. We need to act now to reduce the rate of increase and flatten the curve once again.”
The City of Philadelphia reported 2,564 new coronavirus cases and eight new deaths on Monday.
Rivers Philadelphia road to reopening
Rivers Casino Philly Pa
Rivers Casino Philadelphia voluntarily closed in March when the coronavirus pandemic hit Pennsylvania. It remained shuttered for four months and reopened on July 17. That marked the longest coronavirus-caused closure of any brick-and-mortar casino in PA.
Upon reopening, all casinos in PA followed health and safety guidelines from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
In addition, Rivers Casino Philadelphia conducted temperature checks, operated at 25% capacity (50% was the limit at other casinos) and upgraded its HVAC system to include airPHX, a patented technology that continuously disinfects indoor air and eliminates coronavirus on surfaces. The casino also has AtmosAir, an indoor air quality purification system that has proven to neutralize coronavirus by more than 99.9%.
Will other casinos in PA close again too?
On Friday, Play Pennsylvaniaasked the PA Department of Health if the rising numbers meant a return to the color-coded phases and possible temporary closures for casinos in Pennsylvania.
A representative responded:
“There is no plan at this time to return to the red, yellow, green mitigation steps and stay-at-home order that occurred in the spring.” Casino 21 grand en franç aisyah.
During Monday’s press conference, Farley urged surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to join Philadelphia in enacting similar measures.
The closest casinos to Philadelphia (with Rivers closed) include:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia (Delaware County)
- Valley Forge Casino (Montgomery County)
- Parx Casino (Bucks County)
Atlantic City is about an hour drive from Philadelphia.
Fans barred from the Linc again
Casino In Philly Pa
In mid-October, the Philadelphia Eagles got the green light to allow fans back at Lincoln Financial Field. The stadium occupancy was 7,500 people, which included players, coaches, team and stadium personnel. It allowed for 5,500 to 6,000 fans to be in attendance.
Mayor Kenney said the new orders will be in effect until “at least January 1.” The Eagles’ last home game is Jan. 3 against the Washington Football Team.
Note: This is a developing story and will be updated as additional information is released.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Rich Schultz