Casino reopens with new safety measures

Three Rivers begins new hours from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.

May 22, 2020 — Three Rivers Casino Resort opened its doors for the first time in months on Friday, with various social distancing measures enforced to ensure the safety of its guests, including temperature checks at the front door, face covering requirements for all guests and limited seating.

“We are taking this seriously,” Three Rivers Director of Marketing Richard Colton said. “We’re hoping to set the example that everybody will follow, because it’s easier to manage if everybody applies the same rules.”

As for Friday at noon, Colton said that a good number of guests had already come to the casino, but crowds have been manageable.

“We opened about 8:30 a.m., and it’s been a nice, slow and steady pace,” Colton said. “We have about 225 people right now in the building, staying safe, playing and having a good time. Business volume wise, this is really nice for a Friday, you know? We couldn’t be happier at this point. It’s a good turnout. We’re up to about five jackpots so far this morning. We’ve been counting and taking pictures.”

And so far, the resort has not received any pushback from the instituted safety precautions.

“We haven’t had any complaints,” Colton said. “Everybody understands the rules and they appreciate everything we’ve done. It’s a good feeling.”

The precautions are noticeable from the outset as guests arrive.

“We’ve got one point of entry, and that’s at our main door, and all the other doors are exit only,” Colton said.

Once through the main entrance, guests are asked to have their temperatures checked with a touchless monitor that scans guests’ foreheads.

“It works really well,” Colton said, showing off how the machine works.

He slightly lowered his mask for the machine to read his face. If a temperature is in excess of 101.4 degrees, guests are asked to leave until the fever subsides. But in Colton’s case, a greenlight flashed on the screen in front of him, clearing him to enter.

“We are doing this for team members, too,” Colton said. “When they come into the back of the house to come to work, they get their temperatures checked, sanitize and get their PPE (personal protective equipment) for the day.”

All guests are required to wear face coverings inside the building, and are asked to lift their masks when drinking, smoking or eating on the casino floor.

Guests are also asked to bring their own masks. While the resort does have a limited supply of PPE available for guests without a mask, Colton said it's been difficult procuring them due to nationwide shortages, and asks everyone to bring their own.

Latex gloves are also available to any guest upon request, but they are not required.

After a security guard checks and scans identification of all guests entering the building, guests are free to play the majority of games on the floor, with the exception of live poker, which is still closed until further notice.

“We’ve turned off about half of the slot machines here, as well as taken away slot machine chairs,” Colton said, which allows for social distancing when people sit at machines. He also stated that many machines have been repositioned to ensure more popular machines are available.

Table games, such as blackjack and pai gow, are still open, with modifications.

“We’re only allowing three players per table,” Colton said. “We’ve got the plexiglass up to protect the dealer and the players. And then every half hour or so, we sanitize. We change the cards out every hour.”

Hand sanitizer is also available to players at the tables, as well as touchless sanitizer stations throughout the casino floor.

“We’re taking every precaution we can,” Colton emphasized.

Nearly every counter in the resort has a plexiglass barrier, from the player services booth to the hotel reservations desk. They are also prevalent in the resort's two restaurants that will be open.

“We’ve got all our tables spaces out for social distancing,” Colton said, pointing to the floor space of Blue Bills Sports Bar and Tap Room, where roughly half of the tables have been taken out.

“We’ve got our plexiglass up here with our orders to go and as you see, we have everybody spread out,” Colton said. “Everything’s been changed to single serve condiments. Nothing is reusable.”

Soda self-service stations have been turned off for now, though the resort has touchless dispensing machines on order.

“Getting everything has been a challenge,” Colton said.

In addition, Three Rivers’ hotel resort is open, but with limited capacity. Early check in and late check out will not be permitted, and room amenities, such as water bottles and coffee, will only be available upon request.

“For cleaning the hotel, we have electrostatic sprayers that we’re using to disinfect. They do all the rooms,” Colton said.

The casino floor and restaurants go through constant cleaning as well. Instead of being open 24 hours a day as normal, the casino will close between the hours of 3 and 7 a.m. to disinfect.

“We’re doing a deep clean on the floor with those sprayers, vacuuming and wiping down everything,” Colton said. “All the high touch points, we’ll hit really hard. But all throughout the day, we’re still hitting them as well.”

The opening of the casino comes as Oregon inches its way back into reopening. While Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority have instituted a number of requirements for reopening, Three Rivers is going beyond those requirements with the myriad of safety measures it has instituted.

On the same token, Brown has also asked, but not required, for residents over the age of 60 to remain sheltered in place, and discourages individuals from traveling beyond their immediate communities. However, it’s not required and the Siuslaw region has already seen a slight uptick in visitors since some restrictions were lifted.

Colton believes that reopening the casino will see more people come to the region from outside areas, but it’s not making a large push for out-of-area visitors.

“We’re expecting our normal crowd from Eugene, to be honest,” he said. “But beyond that, I’m not expecting a whole lot of people from Portland to come down yet. I think it’s going to take longer for that, and that’s okay. We don’t mind a slow start to this. This is all new for all of us. If we can tiptoe into this and slowly get going, we’re happy with that.”

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