California Cardrooms Close Again, Three Weeks After Reopening

Written By Kate Rowland on July 13, 2020

Most California cardrooms closed again last week, just three weeks after receiving the green light from the state to reopen.

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered much of the state to roll back to phase two restrictions on July 1. He ordered the re-closing of cardrooms, indoor restaurants, movie theaters, and other indoor businesses.

Cardrooms to shutter for a minimum of three weeks

Newsom’s new order lasts for at least three weeks. It is in place for 31 counties that have seen a marked spike in COVID-19 infection rates.

According to a July 7 communication from the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) to licensed operators, all cardrooms within the affected counties should be shuttered, at least for now.

Counties included in the order are:

  • Fresno
  • Glenn
  • Los Angeles
  • Napa
  • Orange
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino and more

Closures strongly encouraged, not mandatory

Currently, the governor’s office has chosen to not enforce restrictions with a heavy hand. Instead, it is opting to promote the benefits of prevention safeguards at the county level.

Kyle Kirkland, president of the California Gaming Association, released a statement encouraging compliance among members in affected counties:

“California cardrooms prioritize the health and safety of our customers and employees. With recent re-openings we instituted strict protocols with review and approvals from local health officers and state officials. We are committed to supporting all efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the recent spike in cases in certain counties. We thus respect and will abide by the Governor’s order. We are also calling on California’s tribal casinos to do likewise by temporarily closing operations in those same counties. Only if everyone is doing their part will we be able to successfully re-open the economy and our businesses safely.”

Although tribal casinos have sovereign rights over operations on their lands, all cardrooms in the state closed voluntarily in mid-March to help with coronavirus containment efforts.

California’s reopening process began in early May. By June 12, cardrooms located in counties that met state guidelines were given the phase three go-ahead to reopen with new safety measures in place.

However, major Los Angeles-area cardrooms did not receive approval from the state to reopen until June 19, including:

  • Commerce Casino
  • Bicycle Club
  • Hustler Casino
  • Gardens Casino
  • Hollywood Park Casino

COVID-19 numbers surge across country

Nationally, the rate of new cases across the country has increased in 40 states. California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona reported nearly half of all US cases on July 1.

Moreover, cases across the country grew by more than 20% compared to numbers from one week ago.

The California Department of Public Health reported 312,344 confirmed cases as of July 10. The average number of new cases per day over a seven-day period was at 8,228, up from 6,902 the previous week.

Gov. Newsom said at a Wednesday news conference that California has also seen a 44% increase in coronavirus hospitalizations over the last two weeks.

The list of counties affected by the re-closure mandate continues to grow. It has gone up previously from 19 counties on July 1 to 31 counties on July 10.

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