New County Coronavirus Tiers Give California Cardrooms Path To Reopen

Posted on August 28, 2020 - Last Updated on August 29, 2020

California cardrooms received some hope Friday for reopening indoor operations in the future. But, for most cardrooms, it won’t be any time soon.

With coronavirus numbers in California slowly improving, Gov. Gavin Newsom provided an update for the reopening of indoor operations in a variety of sectors, including gaming.

The governor provided four color-coded tiers determining how businesses can operate. As counties move between tiers, some cardrooms will be able to reopen, while others remain closed.

If the county in which the cardroom is located reaches the orange tier, the cardroom can reopen at 25% capacity. If the county reaches the yellow tier, cardrooms can reopen at 50% capacity.

Tribal casinos in the state, with sovereign rights to determine their own course of action, have remained open with increased safety precautions.

How new CA coronavirus tiers affect cardrooms

The blueprint for tightening or loosening restrictions is based on coronavirus numbers by county.

A county’s status in the following table determines operations:

County risk levelNew casesPositive tests
Purple: Widespread>7 daily per 100k>8%
Red: Substantial4-7 daily per 100k5-8%
Orange: Moderate1-3.9 daily per 100k2-4.9%
Yellow: Minimal<1 daily per 100k<2%

There are 58 counties in California. As of Aug. 28, 38 counties are in the purple tier, nine in red, eight in orange, and three in yellow.

The county monitoring list will be updated every Tuesday. For a county to advance in tiers, it must meet the metrics for the next tier for two straight weeks.

There is a 21-day mandatory wait time between moves, and counties can only move up one tier at a time. You can check the status of your county at https://covid19.ca.gov/.

Los Angeles County is currently in the purple tier with 13 new daily cases per 100,000 people, and a positivity rate above 5%.

With the mandatory wait time to move up tiers, it’s a minimum of 42 days before cardrooms in LA could reach the orange tier, allowing them to reopen at 25% capacity.

But it likely will take much longer for LA to reach the required metrics to advance.

More California cardrooms could open outdoors

California cardrooms were allowed to reopen in June but closed three weeks later as the coronavirus numbers worsened in the state.

In recent weeks, two California cardrooms, Stars Casino in Tracy and Seven Mile Casino in Chula Vista, have reopened with outdoor operations under tents.

Cardrooms expect the governor to soon provide guidance for cardrooms to operate outdoors.

This guidance from the state should spark more outdoor cardroom operations by helping cities and counties feel more comfortable permitting their cardrooms to open under these new circumstances.

The guidance could come as soon as later today.

Matthew Kredell Avatar
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Matthew Kredell

Matthew has covered efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling since 2007. His reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. A USC journalism alum, Matt started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News and has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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