Open, Closed And Open Again: Parkwest Welcomes Players After COVID-19 Case

Written By Joe Boozell on June 30, 2020 - Last Updated on July 1, 2020

Second time’s the charm, perhaps?

The Sacramento card room Parkwest Casino Lotus temporarily closed a mere three days after reopening due to an employee contracting COVID-19, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The card room had been closed for three months due to the pandemic.

Parkwest initially reopened on June 16 and closed the following Friday. But after deep cleaning and sanitizing the facility, the card room will open again on Wednesday.

The second hiatus lasted 12 days.

Roger Salazar, Parkwest spokesman, wrote before Tuesday’s reopening announcement:

“Parkwest is following all public health guidelines and protocols and, in order to ensure customer and employee safety, the casino is closed until we are certain it is safe.”

Parkwest breaks social media silence

The card room had not posted an update on Facebook or Instagram prior to Tuesday since March 16, announcing its first temporary closure.

Salazar told The Bee that “[the] most recent reopening was not widely announced, mostly word of mouth and a few posts, the equivalent of a ‘soft’ opening.”

It has not addressed its employee’s positive test on any of its channels, but confirmed the reporting.

Salazar said the Sacramento County Public Health officials were helping the card room perform contact tracing. The Bee learned of the story after two patrons who gambled at the card room during the brief reopening grew concerned that Parkwest didn’t contact trace quickly enough.

Parkwest’s first closure lasted exactly three months, from March 15 to June 15. The casino furloughed 174 employees in April due to COVID-19.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom allowed state card rooms to reopen on June 12. Parkwest Casinos operates five locations in Northern California, and The Lodi card room is the only other one open.

According to state guidelines, businesses such as card rooms must “identify close contacts (within six feet for 15 minutes or more) of an infected employee and take steps to isolate COVID-19 positive employee(s) and close contacts.”

Card rooms are not required to shut down in the event that an employee tests positive, but Parkwest did so anyway. That said, Newsom required that each facility submit a written “workplace-specific COVID-19 prevention plan.”

Without having an actual copy of Parkwest’s plan, it appears as though they are making it a point to temporarily close if an employee tests positive.

Official guidelines

Per California’s official website, card rooms must practice the following:

  • Physical distancing to the maximum extent possible.
  • Use of face coverings by employees (where respiratory protection is not necessary) and customers/clients.
  • Frequent hand washing and regular cleaning and disinfection.
  • Training employees on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan.

California cases surge

Predicting what COVID-19 has in store is often a fruitless exercise, but California’s cases are trending in the wrong direction.

Newsom said California’s hospitalizations have increased by 43% over the past two weeks. There were more than 7,000 new cases on Monday, the highest total yet.

As a result, Newsom shut down bars in Los Angeles County and six other counties. Disneyland was also set to reopen but will no longer do so.

“A lot of people didn’t stick with the plan,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in an interview on Friday. “The idea was, we would do a move, wait three weeks, check the impact, take the next move.

“And then we had the protest on top of that, and other things. And we have yet to be able to identify where spread is happening and what we can do to crank it down.”

What does that mean for card rooms? It’s tough to say, but another closure doesn’t seem to be out of the realm of possibility. It will also be interesting to monitor how other locations will handle a situation like Parkwest’s.

We’ll keep you updated with all of the latest news.

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