Casinos

COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Apr 16, 2021

The State of Maine has adopted a multi-layered approach to COVID-19 guidance—supported by science, public health expertise, and industry collaboration—to help Maine businesses and community organizations operate safely. As we enter the second year of the pandemic, these updated guidelines highlight the importance of employing multi-layered mitigation strategies to keep Maine businesses, employees, and residents as safe as possible from COVID-19 transmission. Public health guidance will continue to evolve as we learn which mitigation strategies most effectively reduce transmission risk.

No single measure or action will completely prevent transmission of COVID-19. Use of multiple strategies—sometimes called layered mitigation—provides greater protection than implementing a single strategy alone. When multiple mitigation strategies—including masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and ventilation—are consistently and correctly used, risk of transmission is decreased. 

Certain business sectors and activities may have additional guidance specific to those settings. Please make sure you pair this general guidance with industry-specific guidance available at https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists.

For the latest information on travel policies and Executive Orders related to COVID-19 visit the Office of the Governor’s COVID-19 Response website: https://www.maine.gov/covid19.

Casinos

General Guidance

  1. Require all employees, vendors, and guests to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not part of their household group whenever possible.
  2. Require all employees, vendors, and guests to wear a mask.
    1. Because interacting with more people raises transmission risk, employees who interact directly and in close proximity with many guests (e.g. ID checkers, dealers) are encouraged to wear eye protection (i.e., a face shield or goggles), in addition to a mask, unless they are behind a plexiglass barrier.
    2. Masks do not need to be worn while an individual is actively eating or drinking.
    3. Additional information about proper use of masks is available from the CDC (see: Use Masks to Slow the Spread of COVID-19).
  3. Indoor gathering limits as further established by the Governor's Executive Order are subject to the following limits:
    1. All indoor gathering limits:
      1. Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 50% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons, whichever is greater.
      2. Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 75% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons, whichever is greater.
    2. If a space cannot accommodate the gathering limit without complying with the six-foot distancing requirement, occupancy must be limited to allow for such compliance.

Cleaning and Disinfection

  1. Refer to the following documents for guidance on general cleaning and disinfection:
    1. COVID-19 Prevention Checklist General Guidance (State of Maine)
    2. Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility (CDC)
    3. Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (CDC)

Staff

  1. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. For the most up to date information on this topic, see US CDC guidance on conditions that place individuals at increased risk of severe illness (see: People with Certain Medical Conditions).
  2. Staff should stay at home if they are sick. Supervisors should ask all staff to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms using either of the following approaches:
    1. Use an electronic or app-based self-screening form, such as the Coronavirus Self-Checker available from the federal CDC.
    2. Self-screen using the following questions:
      1. Do you feel ill or have you been caring for someone who is ill?
      2. In the past two weeks, have you been exposed to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19?
  3. Require employees to practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing, especially after contact with other individuals or high-touch surfaces.
  4. Conduct business by phone or internet to the greatest extent practicable.
  5. Limit in-person gatherings or meetings of employees to the greatest extent practicable.
  6. Where possible, stagger employee shifts and meal breaks to avoid crowding.
  7. During activities when individuals need to remove their mask (i.e., when eating and drinking), they must remain physically distant from others. Adjust seating in break rooms and other common areas to reflect physical distancing practices.
  8. Permit employees to take breaks and lunch outside, or in such other areas where physical distancing is attainable.
  9. Discourage employees from using colleagues’ phones, desks, workstations, radios, handhelds/wearables, or other office tools and equipment.
  10. Make sure you have a safe process to receive supplies and other deliveries.
  11. Request that vendors accessing the premises direct their employees to follow all physical distancing guidelines and health directives issued by the applicable public authorities.
  12. Adjust training/onboarding practices to limit number of people involved and allow for 6 foot spacing; use virtual/video/audio training when possible.
  13. Provide employees training on:
    1. hand hygiene
    2. physical distancing guidelines and expectations
    3. monitoring personal health
    4. proper wear, removal, and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    5. laundering of cloth masks and uniforms:  Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, How to Disinfect: Laundry (CDC)
    6. cleaning protocols, including how to safely and effectively use cleaning supplies:  Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (CDC)
  14. Consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.

Communicating COVID-19 Policies

  1. Inform guests of your COVID-19 policies and procedures in advance, if possible, via website, newsletters, social media channels, newspaper, ticket purchasing site, etc.
  2. Place signage at entrances and throughout venue (particularly high traffic areas such as service counters) alerting employees and guests to required occupancy limits, physical distancing requirements, mask policies, symptoms of COVID-19, and other health and hygiene reminders. The federal CDC has developed free, printable posters on these topics (see: Print Resources).
  3. It is strongly recommended that businesses remind patrons that if they are ill (e.g. have a fever or cough) they should not visit. Signage reminding patrons of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 is highly recommended.
  4. Consider using announcements and/or recorded messages to communicate COVID-19 policies to guests during their time at the venue.

Operational Considerations

  1. Ensure that staffing is sufficient to enable enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures and enforcement of new safety guidelines.
  2. Ensure adequate supplies (e.g., soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, tissue) to support healthy hygiene practices, including increased cleaning and disinfection procedures.
  3. Take steps to improve ventilation in any buildings on the premises.
    1. Increase the percentage of outdoor air (e.g., using economizer modes of HVAC operations) potentially as high as 100% (first verify compatibility with HVAC system capabilities for both temperature and humidity control as well as compatibility with outdoor/indoor air quality considerations).
    2. Increase total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible.
    3. Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy.
    4. Consider using natural ventilation (i.e., opening windows if possible and safe to do so) when environmental conditions and building requirements allow.
  4. Take steps to ensure that all water systems and features (for example, drinking fountains) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of disease. Further guidance is available from the CDC (see: Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation).
  5. Consider restricting the use of water fountains to refill only with instruction for employees and guests to wash or sanitize hands after use.
  6. Consider installing non-porous physical barriers such as partitions or plexiglass barriers to protect employees and guests. Barriers should be placed at information desks, service counters, and other similar locations where it is not possible to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of physical distance.
  7. Limit activities that require individuals to enter within 6 feet of another person, regardless of whether physical barriers are installed.
  8. Modify building/venue traffic flow to minimize contact between employees, vendors, and guests. Use floor decals and/or signage to establish travel patterns.
    1. Consider one-way entrances and exits, if possible.
    2. Consider establishing one-way travel patterns through the venue.
    3. Ensure that physical distancing is maintained in elevators and stairwells. Consider limiting the number of individuals in an elevator at one time and designating one directional stairwells.
  9. Ensure your First Aid protocols address how to manage guests or employees with COVID-19 symptoms. If an individual becomes ill at your venue, have a plan for a room or space where the person can be isolated until transferred home or to a health care facility and provide a mask, if available and tolerated.
  10. For contact tracing purposes, to the extent practicable, establishments should maintain a record of information about visitors, including one customer's name and contact information per party, the date they were in the establishment, and the staff who had direct, prolonged interaction with them. Establishments must maintain records for at least 21 days.
    1. Based on current scientific knowledge, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. An individual is also considered a close contact if they provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them), shared eating or drinking utensils, or if the person sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on them.
  11. Establishments should promptly notify the Maine DHHS, CDC or any local health official if they learn an employee or other worker has tested positive for COVID-19 and assist all such officials as reasonably requested to trace likely contacts and advise contacts to isolate and self-quarantine.
  12. Minimize shared touch surfaces such as pens, tablets, receipts, etc.
  13. Provide disposable or single-use items whenever possible. If disposable replacements cannot be provided, properly clean and disinfect items between uses.
  14. High-contact areas such as doorknobs, counters, and interactive displays should be cleaned regularly.
  15. Retail spaces should follow state guidance on safe operation of retail businesses.

Restrooms

  1. Limit restroom occupancy for group restrooms to incorporate physical distancing and avoid formation of waiting lines outside of restrooms.
  2. Clean and disinfect restrooms on a regular and scheduled basis (see General Cleaning and Disinfecting section).
  3. Post handwashing signs in all restrooms. The federal CDC has developed free, printable posters that describe appropriate handwashing standards (see: Print Resources).

Arrival and Queuing Areas

  1. At all significant points of entry and exit, consider separating ingress from egress in order to avoid two-way flow of guest traffic.
  2. At points of entry, station casino staff to provide guests with masks (if guest needs one) that cover the nose and mouth. Guests must wear masks that cover the nose and mouth upon entry and while in the establishment.
  3. Guests who are subject to identification check may be required to briefly lower a mask to verify their identity with government-issued identification cards.
  4. Eliminate waiting lines to the greatest extent practicable. Where lines are unavoidable, ensure 6 feet of distance between individuals. This can be accomplished by demarcating 6-foot distances on floors or walls. Eliminate “zig-zag” queue patterns that make physical distance difficult to maintain.
  5. To the extent practicable, alter security protocols to allow for compliance with physical distancing, proper hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection practices.
    1. If bag checks are part of an establishment’s security protocols, avoid touching patrons' personal items. Consider enforcing a small clear bag policy in which patrons open their own bags for inspection. Alternatively, consider prohibiting bags entirely, although exceptions will likely be necessary for medicine or personal hygiene products.
    2. Walk-through magnetometers are effective at detecting metallic objects while allowing security workers to maintain physical distance. Hand wands are a less costly alternative that still allow no-contact metal detection, but they require the security worker to be closer than six feet from the patron, so they are less optimal from a health perspective. Pat-downs present the highest risk for transmission, and venues may deny admission to patrons who repeatedly activate the magnetometer rather than putting hands on patrons. It is strongly recommended that any worker conducting a pat-down search wear a mask and gloves and have access to a hand washing or sanitizing station.

Transactions

  1. To the extent possible, utilize remote ticketing and payment options to reduce transactions on site and manage congestion. Consider a timed ticketing program that staggers arrivals.
  2. Use digital rather than paper formats to the greatest extent practicable (e.g. electronic tickets and receipts). If applicable, consider implementing digital waivers for guests to review and sign prior to arriving.
  3. Consider time limits for visits to help manage occupancy limits.
  4. Limit cash and paper receipt transactions; promote “contactless” payment options (e.g., online payments, pay by phone options, RFID credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.)
  5. Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) after handling cash.
  6. Where possible, card readers should be placed in front of physical barriers so guests can swipe their own cards and enter their codes. Card readers and keypads should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Hand sanitizer should be made available for guests before and after transactions.

Slot Games and Arcades

  1. Guests must keep their masks on for the duration of their time in the venue.
  2. Hand sanitizing stations should be easily accessible in slot game areas.
  3. Make disinfectant wipes available for guests wishing to wipe down the slot machine and chair before using.
  4. Place signage in game areas alerting guests to required occupancy limits, physical distancing requirements, mask requirements, symptoms of COVID-19, and other health and hygiene reminders.
  5. Machines should be placed to allow for at least 6 feet of physical distancing between individuals. If machines cannot be moved, some machines can be turned off or otherwise inactivated to keep guests from using adjacent machines. Remove seating from inactivated machines.
  6. Operating slot machines may be separated by plexiglass dividers. Dividers must be no less than six feet high and extend one foot behind the seats. If a divider is installed between slot machines, every third slot machine may be turned on.
  7. Physical distancing should be maintained between players unless they are part of the same party.
  8. Guests from different parties should not congregate in proximity to players.
  9. Establish cleaning protocols for machines to ensure they are cleaned frequently. Place signage advising hand sanitizer use before and after use.

Table Games

  1. Guests should use hand sanitizer prior to start of play and when leaving a table.
  2. All chips from the cage should be cleaned and disinfected.
  3. Develop protocol to replace cards based on volume and frequency of play.
  4. Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of all gaming equipment and devices with a focus on high-touch areas.
  5. Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of chairs and table rails.
  6. Make hand sanitizer available to guests in each gaming pit.
  7. Make sanitizing wipes available with corresponding signage to guests in each gaming pit.
  8. Limit the touching of cards and chips by players to the extent possible.
  9. For all table games, individuals must maintain 6 feet of physical distance and remain masked at all times in the gaming area.

Cage

  1. Install protective plexiglass partitions at cage locations between guests and cage employees
  2. Close alternating cage windows to encourage 6-foot physical distancing or install protective plexiglass between cage windows.
  3. Encourage contactless transactions, e.g. credit cards. If a guest elects to use cash, provide them with the option to receive cash in enclosed envelopes.
  4. Clean and disinfect counters and touch screens frequently, at least hourly.
  5. Make hand sanitizer available near cage area.
  6. Implement protocols to maintain 6-foot physical distancing for queuing and interactions in cage area, with signage and spacing marked on the floor.

Food and Beverage Services

  1. Food and beverage operations should follow state guidance for food and drink service.
  2. Drink or food refills should not be allowed unless served in a clean, unused container.
  3. To the extent possible, use contactless dispensers in food service areas. Other suggestions to minimize multi-touch surfaces include providing single-wrap utensils, straws, and lids provided at any take-out or self-seating point of sale.
  4. Use of prepackaged food and beverages is encouraged.
  5. Consumption of food must be limited to designated areas where physical distancing can be maintained during mask removal.
  6. Beverage service is allowed in the gaming area and limited to guests who are seated and actively engaged in gambling at individual games and who lower their masks for drinking only. Guests may get drinks from designated stations as long as 6-foot physical distancing is maintained in any lines and they promptly return to their chosen seating area.
  7. Guests must not congregate at any food or beverage stations or in the gaming areas, particularly while eating or drinking.
  8. Any entertainment activity that encourages congregation of people in a small space is not allowed. No mingling, dancing, or congregating is allowed.

Additional Considerations

  1. Do not schedule any promotions or activities outside of normal operations that challenge the ability to maintain 6 feet of physical distancing between patrons.
  2. Discontinue valet service until further notice (unless necessary due to physical or geographic constraints in order to accommodate individual guests with disabling conditions).
  3. In order to avoid touching visitors’ personal items in coat check areas, encourage visitors to limit personal items brought into the venue. Practice good hand hygiene when handling visitors’ personal items.
  4. Any performances or entertainment should follow performing arts venues, museums, and movie theaters guidelines, and banquet services should follow food and drink service.
  5. Other events should follow the weddings and other private events or the large gatherings/ticketed events guidelines depending on the nature of the event.

COVID-19 Prevention Form

In order to open, if you have not already done so, please commit to complying with requirements of these checklists by filling out this short online form. Please note that religious organizations and licensed health care providers are not required to use this form.

If you have questions, please contact us at business.answers@maine.gov or 1-800-872-3838.