Florida Poker Rooms Reopen to New Normal

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As Florida is trying to get back to some relative normalcy following the statewide closure of non-essential businesses in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, poker rooms around the state have begun to resume operations.

However, poker players heading to their favorite venue should be prepared for a different experience than what they are used to as poker room owners have adopted strict guidelines to mitigate the risk that the reopening of their properties involves amid a global health emergency.

Players will be required to wear face masks at the poker tables or anywhere around the gaming facilities. Each individual poker room around Florida that has moved to resume operations has issued its own “new normal” guidelines, but these do not vary that much from one property to another and they are all required to be in line with what health officials recommend.

Florida poker rooms will require players to wear face masks when at the facilities. Players will also have their temperatures checked before being allowed access into the gaming venues.

Any patron showing coronavirus symptoms would not be permitted to enter Florida’s poker rooms and would be asked to leave. The same will apply to employees.

Frequent Sanitization and Social Distancing

Florida’s poker rooms are all encouraging customers to practice social distancing. At some of the facilities, plexiglass partitions are used at the tables to ensure that players are well protected from being exposed to the coronavirus.

The state’s poker rooms have informed players that they have installed hand sanitizer stations throughout the facilities.

The poker room at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa and Bestbet Jacksonville were among Florida’s first poker venues to reopen doors. The Hard Rock gambling venue in Tampa resumed operations this past Thursday, while the Bestbet poker room in Jacksonville welcomed its first players after a two-month hiatus on Friday.

With 70 poker tables, Bestbet Jacksonville is one of the largest poker rooms in Florida. The facility promised last week that its staff will be “practicing social distancing guidelines” to ensure players’ safety.

Fred Guzman, General Manager at the racing and card clubs around Orange County and Daytona Beach said earlier this week that they have limited the number of hours during which the facilities are open and have also limited the number of tables “for social spacing.” In addition, everyone sitting at a poker table will be sanitized.

Mr. Guzman’s poker rooms were, too, among those to reopen after they were ordered to shut down in March. There are no plexiglass dividers at Orange County’s poker facilities, but hand sanitizers are placed at every table and every time a player gets up, they need to scrub their hands in order to be able to sit back at their table and touch the cards.

Mr. Guzman also noted that cards and chips are set to be rotated regularly with clean ones. Specially trained cleaning crews are tasked with scrubbing down everything.

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