Some Illinois Casinos Reopening January 16 as COVID-19 Restrictions Are Relaxed

  • Illinois Regions 1, 2, and 5 have moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2
  • Jumer’s Casino, Par-A-Dice Casino, and Harrah’s Metropolis are eligible for reopening
  • The casinos must operate at 25% capacity with no beverage or food service
  • Operating hours are restricted to 8am-11pm
Window sign reading "OPEN Keep social distance"
Three casinos in Illinois – Jumer’s, Par-A-Dice, and Harrah’s Metropolis – are allowed to reopen now that their coronavirus mitigation statuses have moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Tier 3 to Tier 2

A few Illinois casinos can reopen starting at 8am on January 16, thanks to the reclassification of regions in the state by the Department of Public Health. Regions 1, 2, and 5 have moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2 on the state’s COVID-19 mitigation response scale, which means certain services, like casino gaming, can resume. Regions 1 and 2 comprise the northwestern portion of the state and Region 5 is in the southeast.

indoor facilities are allowed to reopen

The main differences between Tier 3 and Tier 2 are that indoor facilities are allowed to reopen, though many with very limited numbers. Of course, social distancing, mask-wearing, and other COVID-19 precautions remain in place.  

Which Illinois casinos can reopen?

The facilities allowed to get back to work after the tier mitigation changes include Jumer’s Casino & Hotel (Region 2), Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino (Region 2), and Harrah’s Metropolis (Region 5). The first two casinos have already posted details of the reopening process on their websites. It is unclear as of the time of this writing if Harrah’s will be ready to resume services by tomorrow.

Par-A-Dice took to Twitter to announce the reopening:

The Illinois Gaming Board has provided details on the reopening rules. Casinos in both the Tier 1 and Tier 2 regions may only be open from 8am until 11pm daily. The occupancy level for each venue is a strict 25%. Food and beverage service are not allowed indoors. Casinos can provide outdoor service, as well as carryout and curbside.

Jumer’s provided details on the reopening process as they it gets ready for an early morning reopening. The casino will offer slots and table games at a reduced rate. There will be zero poker games on offer.

The casino also reported its reopening on Twitter:

The property will provide carryout food via Blue Square To Go. Players can only drink bottled water on the gaming floor.

Following protocols

Employees and patrons must wear a mask at all times inside the casinos. The properties are prohibiting any gatherings of groups around gaming tables. All Casino Pandemic Resumption Plans remain in effect, meaning that social distancing, mask-wearing, sanitizing, and other protocols for mitigation will continue.

Video gaming at licensed venues can also resume in Tier 1 and 2 regions. The hours are restricted just like they are for the rest of the property, from 8am to 11pm. The same food and beverage rules apply to video gaming areas, as do the other health and safety protocols.

Expected reopening

It was expected that casinos would reopen this week after Governor J.B. Pritzker announced earlier this month that all regions of the state could be moving out of Tier 3 restrictions shortly. The governor held a press briefing on January 6 that included an update from Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state’s Department of Public Health director.

Illinois has been able to avoid a significant rise in COVID-19 cases after the holidays. Officials expected regions in Tier 3 to move down a tier after reaching certain set metrics. Health experts continued to monitor signs of infection increase after the holidays to ensure that outbreaks were not notably worse than before.

Pritzer said in the press conference that he was cautiously optimistic that some regions had made real progress. And it seems they have, as three regions are now down to the next tier level, allowing a handful of casinos to reopen. The regions that remain in Tier 3 mostly contain the state’s denser population centers.