ARLINGTON, Wash. — Following a two-month closure because of the coronavirus, Angel of the Winds Casino reopened to huge fanfare Wednesday afternoon.
Neighbors told KIRO 7 News that people started arriving at the casino six hours before the scheduled opening.
By the official opening time, so many people had arrived at the casino that there was a quarter-mile traffic jam outside the resort.
Even those who live in the neighborhood were shocked by the number of people who couldn't wait to get inside.
“That surprised me!” said neighbor Danny Jones. “The parking lot’s full, and (cars) are lined up.”
Jones had no choice but to deal with it.
His property is right across the street from the entrance.,
“That place is packed!” he said. “People must be hungry to gamble.”
While potentially thousands of people showed up for the reopening, only 800 people will be allowed inside the casino at one time.
KIRO 7 News observed casino employees checking people’s temperatures before each went in.
In an interview April 29 with the general manager of Angel of the Winds, it was noted that many new safeguards are now in place.
“We’ve put in plexiglass for less contact with our guests and team members,” said General Manager Travis O’Neil, who added that there are now social distancing signs in the casino, as well as less seating in food and beverage outlets.
O’Neil said that several rows of slot machines had been removed to allow more space between gamblers.
“I think as people come and see us, they will see the difference between packing the casino floor versus having this space to social distance,” he said.
Yet, folks like Jones aren’t convinced.
From his view across the street, he wondered if safety precautions were enough.
“You get up and move and somebody else comes and sits down in (in the slot machine area). How fast can they keep it clean?" he said.
Another big change gamblers will notice is that smoking is no longer allowed inside the casino.
As KIRO 7 News reported two weeks ago, Angel of the Winds is the first casino in the state to now ban smoking.
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