Rivers Casino Philadelphia to Reopen at 25% as More Major PA Events Canceled

Written By Kevin Shelly on July 14, 2020 - Last Updated on September 13, 2020
Rivers Philly last PA casino to reopen post coronavirus closures

Rivers Casino Philadelphia, the final Pennsylvania casino to reopen since virus shutdowns in mid-March, will finally open its doors at 9 a.m. Friday, July 17.

But there are a host of changes planned at the former SugarHouse Casino, including:

  • Curtailed hours
  • No drinking
  • No smoking indoors
  • Limited capacity
  • Temperature checks
  • Mandatory masks
  • Social distancing measures
  • Enhanced air cleaning
  • Deep cleaning of surfaces

Reopening details for Rivers Philly

Hours on reopening will be Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday (open 24 hours).

To comply with state guidelines and promote social distancing, Rivers Casino will be limiting gaming floor capacity to 25% of normal occupancy. The majority of Rivers Casino’s gaming floor, including BetRivers Sportsbook, will reopen.

Slots will either be placed in alternating operational order or be separated by plexiglass.

Seating at blackjack allows no more than three positions per game. Baccarat is limited to four players per table. Plexiglass will separate all positions, including the dealer.

For standing games, such as craps and roulette, players will be separated by plexiglass.

The poker room will remain closed until further notice.

The BetRivers online sportsbook and BetRivers online casino have been operating throughout the shutdown.

Occupancy counters and health checks

Occupancy will be controlled via a customer counter at the north entrance. Valet parking is not available. The garage is open only to customers with VIP passes. Parking is available at a lot in front of the entrance.

Guests and team members will have their temperature checked before entering. Those with a reading of 100.4 degrees or higher will be denied entry. There will also be an enhanced air purification system in place.

Designated smoking areas are available only outside the casino. Bottled water will be available for guests on Jack’s Bar + Grill patio.

A sister facility, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, reopened several weeks ago. That property was forced to close again after cases spiked in the county, but is again open.

Half of Rivers’ employees called back

Rivers Casino Philadelphia General Manager Rob Long said:

“Since voluntarily shutting down in March, we’ve been listening closely to public health experts and making changes — from gaming floor modifications to new policies and procedures. Our goal is to provide the safest possible environment, and we’ll continue evolving as new information becomes available.”

More than half of the casino’s approximately 1,700 employees are returning for the reopening.

However, the Philadelphia Inquirer has reported the company has imposed a pay cut of up to 15% on salaried employees. Hourly workers’ pay remains as before.

Philly imposes months of restrictions on large gatherings

The announcement of Rivers’ reopening came on the same day Philly officials announced the cancellation of all large events in the city for the next six months, including huge parades on Thanksgiving and New Year’s, plus a dayslong running event on Broad Street in Center City.

For now, the Army-Navy game remains set for December 12 at Lincoln Financial Field, near where Live! Casino Philadephia is under construction. December is the goal for completion.

The service academies’ regular Patriot League season was suspended on Monday. But they have a special dispensation to play each other and have said they still intend to hold their traditional face-off.

It is unclear if any spectators will be allowed at what traditionally is a sold-out event.

Lead image via Rivers Casino Philadelphia twitter (@riverscasinophl).

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Written by
Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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