WHEATLAND (CBS13) — Casinos are reopening with some big changes in light of the coronavirus.
The Hard Rock Casino in Wheatland is one of the first in Northern California to reopen. Hundreds of people waited to get into the casino Thursday, backing up traffic on Forty Mile Road. Security guards turned away customers who were still in their cars waiting to turn into the parking lot, asking them to come back later in the evening.
Those lucky enough to get inside say their experience looked a lot different than visits in the past.
"I think it was very safe, definitely. Everybody waits for a machine. They'll stay back. It's so full you have to wait to find a machine," said Ruth Schmidig.
To get in, you'll have to pass through a thermal temperature machine to make sure you don't have a fever. Employees are required to wear a mask and gloves at all times, including card dealers. All guests are required to wear a mask in the building except while eating, or as some noted, smoking.
Brandon Frazier from Sacramento said, "You can still smoke cigarettes in there, you can smoke, then take your mask on and off."
Inside, there's no self-serve food, but there are a few restaurants open. CBS13 saw people spaced out, lining up at machines, wearing masks.
But, as the crowd filed in, it was difficult for people to practice social distancing.
Shawna Hall from Sacramento said, "You couldn't even find a machine! I kicked butt!"
At the gas station down the street, face masks flew off the shelves as folks fueled up after big wins.
"We got there an hour early at 8:33 a.m., and they opened at 9 a.m., so we scored," Hall said.
They say they were excited to get back to gambling with their money, and not their health.
"We want to be safe were elderly, we want to make sure that we are safe too," said Ruth Schmidig.
"I want to enjoy this for a while yet!" said Frank Schmidig.
Inside, a specially trained group called, "the clean team" is rotating through the building sanitizing high touch points on an hourly basis.
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