Philadelphia will soon roll out its mandate that will require proof of vaccination to enter casinos within the city.
The two casinos within the city limits are the Live! Casino Philadelphia and Rivers Casino Philadelphia.
Mayor Jim Kenney stated, “New cases and hospitalizations are rising, and we must do more to protect our residents.”
The mandate will take effect on January 3. It will affect all businesses within the city that sell food or drink that can be consumed onsite, including Lincoln Financial Field, home to the Philadelphia Eagles. There is currently a mask mandate for all of Philadelphia’s indoor businesses.
Other areas are beginning to introduce similar requirements. A negative COVID-19 test in New Orleans or Seattle would invalidate any vaccination requirement to enter any area’s casino or cardrooms.
Los Angeles’ mandate does not apply to its gaming establishments. The Bay Area gambling establishments aren’t within the city’s limits and, therefore, aren’t required to adhere to the mandate.
The Queens Resorts World is New York City’s only casino, although it houses only electronic slot machines. Because the property is on state-owned land, it previously wasn’t subject to New York City’s mandate. However, in November, Governor Kathy Hochul directed that the property be subject to the city’s order.
Grace Period Until January 17
Casinos would allow patrons to enter that have proof of a negative Covid-19 test if it was taken within 24 hours. After January 17, negative tests will no longer be accepted, and you’ll have to prove that you’re fully vaccinated to enter.
The mandate does not apply to other Philadelphia area casinos such as Parx, Harrah’s Philadelphia, and Valley Forge Casino Resort since they are located outside the physical city limits.
Although there are random inspections, the city will not track whether businesses adhere to the mandate. Some businesses have been disciplined several times for failing to comply with the mask mandate.
Those that refuse to fix the problem could be ordered to discontinue operations immediately. Most businesses within the city have had their own mandates in place since reopening after the lockdown.
The Health Department has not yet put forth the formal order, which would go into more detail regarding all the requirements that will take effect.
Officials Hope for a Positive Impact
Some businesses within the city are preparing for a drop in revenue.
Former casino industry exec and casino consultant Robert Ambrose stated, “The casino/hospitality industry has already raised the bar on displaying a healthier footprint for guests and employees. Casino operators have gone to great expense to create a guest and employee environment that will keep them safe while trying not to sacrifice service quality. I think more people will be accepting of this mandate than not.”
With the industry already facing a labor shortage and many employees having recent positive tests, some businesses may be pushed to hire more personnel to enforce the new mandate. However, some expect a negative impact, saying people may decide to take their business to other casinos outside the city rather than be subject to the mandate.
In addition, the city has seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed. Philadelphia is currently averaging about 500 new cases per day since the start of December, which is the highest number they’ve reported since March of 2021.
With the recent surge, the country could be subject to another lockdown early next year. This is why the new mandate will be so important.
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