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Evangeline Downs reopens with social distancing restrictions

10 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Thursday, May 21 2020 May 21, 2020 May 21, 2020 7:00 AM May 21, 2020 in News
Source: KATC
After temporarily shutting its doors due to the COVID health crisis, Evangeline Downs is reopening with social distancing restrictions. Photo: KATC

OPELOUSAS - After temporarily shutting its doors due to the COVID health crisis, a popular racetrack and casino is reopening with social distancing restrictions. 

According to KATC, though Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino in Opelousas will be open, guests will see noticeable differences in its day to day operations. 

For one, the casino will be temporarily limited to 25% occupancy in compliance with state directives.

As the first of three Boyd Gaming Casinos to reopen since the pandemic, Evangeline Downs and its staff say they're ready to work diligently to keep each guest's experience as safe as possible.

"All of our employees and gonna be wearing face masks and we're gonna be encouraging our guests to wear them as well and if they don't have one provide them with one," said Boyd Gaming Senior Vice President, David Strow.

With the casino floor back open for gambling, casino officials aren't taking any chances when it comes to COVID-19. They'll be checking the temperatures of all guests in the area.

"You're going to walk by a thermal camera. It'll give the read out to the employee who is monitoring that. If a customer does not have a fever, they're hardly going to notice that we did it. If a customer does register a temperature, we would them to step aside and then we would take a forehead check of their temperature to confirm is they do have fever or if it was just a misread," said Strow.

The casino will have 675 of their 3,450 slot machines available to play, and the 25% capacity means a limit to 862 people allowed inside at once.

"Slot machines will be separated so that two people can't sit at two slot machines that are right next to one another. There will be markers on the floor, stay six feet apart. So all these measures will be in place to reminds folks of the need for good social distancing," said Strow.

Strow also says staff will frequently disinfect all slot machines and other surfaces.  

"We hope they understand why we're doing it and why it's important. We wanna have them back. We want have them having fun again but we also want to keep them safe," said Strow.

The hotel is also back open and the only restaurant that is currently open is The Cafe.

Once the state moves into Phase Two, Boyd Gaming will decide if and how additional operations within Evangeline Downs will reopen. 

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