Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered the closure of all entertainment venues, community centers, gyms and schools in Montgomery County starting on Friday, March 13, for a period of 14 days as a result of coronavirus concerns.
Since Wednesday, the county has been notified of four new presumed cases of COVID-19. As of March 12, the county has 13 presumed cases. No fatalities have been reported.
Wolf hopes the closures will curb the spread of the coronavirus in Montgomery County, which has become the epicenter for the virus in Pennsylvania.
What does it mean for Valley Forge Casino Resort? Located in King of Prussia, which has a population of 825,000 and is about 25 minutes outside of Philadelphia, it’s the only casino in Montgomery County.
Valley Forge Casino status, steps to prevent the spread
As of Thursday at 2:45 p.m., the casino was still open. A guest representative confirmed over the phone the casino would be open later that evening.
At 3 p.m., David Strow, vice president of corporate communications at Boyd Gaming, replied to a request for comment about a possible closure due to Gov. Wolf’s statement:
“We are seeking additional clarification on the governor’s announcement. Until we have further information, we won’t be able to comment.”
A page on Valley Forge Casino’s website addresses concerns regarding the coronavirus.
It states in part that the safety and well-being of customers and team members are of “utmost importance.”
During the last several weeks, Boyd Gaming has taken steps to implement CDC-recommended safety protocols at all their 29 properties across the country. Those actions include:
- Increased placement of hand sanitizer dispensers in public areas.
- Enhanced cleaning practices throughout our property, including frequent sanitizing of touchpoints like door handles, elevator buttons, tabletops and handrails.
- Frequent reminders to our team members to follow good health practices, including frequent hand washing, and covering sneezes or coughs with a tissue or a sleeve.
- Instructions for all team members to go home and stay home if they are sick.
Montgomery County and coronavirus
While Wolf did order the closures of entertainment venues, he did not specifically mention casinos. Nonessential retail stores were also asked to close.
During his Thursday press conference, Gov. Wolf said:
“No mass gatherings should be held, including conferences and rallies. By closing these facilities, we can control the spread of this disease, that’s the hope. And we can redirect our public safety and health officials to where they are needed the most.”
Montgomery County commissioners have held press conferences every day since Sunday about the coronavirus. On Thursday, March 12, during a 3:30 p.m. conference, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, the chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, said:
“Gov. Wolf announced a decision which we fully support. We will reassess the situation on an ongoing basis and may extend the order as warranted. We, here at the county, are imploring the community to cancel nonessential public and private gatherings both indoor and outdoor. For our business community, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to enable employees to work from home when possible. If you do not offer paid sick time, please consider doing so during this time.
About Valley Forge Casino
Valley Forge Casino is the region’s only full-amenity gaming resort. It experienced the biggest jump in revenue of any PA casino from January 2019 to January 2020 when revenue increased 92%. The growth was largely due to the addition of 250 slot titles, the addition of FanDuel Sportsbook and online gaming and sports betting.
Even if Valley Forge were to close for a few weeks, it does receive revenue from its affiliation with FanDuel online sportsbook and FanDuel online casino.
Christopher Drumm, a Montgomery County-based doctor, says now is the time to play online.
Personal account of the casino on Thursday evening
I’m a resident of Montgomery County and live about 10 minutes from the Valley Forge Casino. At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, I went over to check out the situation. It should be noted Wolf’s order on closures does not start until Friday, March 13.
Two of the closest parking lots in front of the entrance were filled. The lot next to the casino had a few cars. The sportsbook was empty as each game across the ticker said “canceled” next to it. The casino floor was busy for a Thursday (early) evening.
A number of blackjack tables were close to capacity and the craps table had some lively players. The slots were busy with a wide age-range of people from 30-something guys to some silver-haired women with walkers. There are hand sanitizer stations throughout the casino.
From the looks of my social media feed, it was a much more calm scene than the grocery store.