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Illinois Casinos, Video Gaming Operations To Reopen Wednesday, July 1

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Bet on it. Illinois casinos and video gaming operations will reopen on Wednesday, more than three months after the state halted legal gambling activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illinois Gaming Board said every casino and video gaming terminal operator in the state was required to provide their own reopening plan to guide operations for when gaming resumes at 9 a.m. on July 1.

Under the state's guidelines, casinos must enforce six-foot social distancing requirements throughout their facilities; require customers and staff to wear face coverings; provide free masks and other personal protective equipment to employees; conduct daily health screenings of patrons and employees, and prohibit anyone who fails a health screening from entering; and set detailed schedules for cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing their facilities.

Casinos also must designate a "pandemic response liaison" who will serve as their primary contact with the state regarding reopening plans, and assist public health officials with any contact tracing efforts.

Businesses with video gaming terminals also must provide detailed reopening plans, and provide daily health screenings for employees and customers.

Video gaming terminals must either be laid out to provide at least six feet of space between users; or be divided by physical barriers at least one foot taller than head level for seated customers, and extending at least three feet out from the front of the terminals. Facilities must be cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized each day before opening, and operators also must have a detailed plan for cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day.

Gov. JB Pritzker said he's confident the Illinois Gaming Board will make sure sufficient safety protections are in place to prevent the spread of the virus at casinos, such as requiring regular cleaning and disinfecting of video gaming machines.

"Most especially what we want to make sure is that people are safe when they go back to any activity, entertainment or otherwise," he said. "Like our other activities, we're trying to do these things in measures, with lots of health and safety guidance."

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