Belterra is back.
After nearly three months of being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Belterra Casino and Resort and other Indiana casino properties were given the go-ahead to re-open this past Monday, June 15th. Of course restrictions were mandated by the state as a condition of re-opening, but officials with Boyd Gaming, the parent company of Belterra, were already working hard on putting safeguards in place that meet or exceed state standards.
And, at a little before 11 a.m. on Monday, Belterra’s property opened its doors.
“We were able to open it a little bit early, so we are now back open for business at Belterra Casino Resort, David Strow, Vice President of Corporate Communications and spokesman for Boyd Gaming said Monday morning.
Strow said that customers coming to Belterra should expect some changes as the opening gets underway.
“Not immediately,” Strow said with reference to the entire facility being open. “We have some amenities that will remain closed. Obviously the experience is going to change, We have had to implement a number of safety precautions as a result of the pandemic.”
Strow said that customers initially will see three big changes:
“One is going to be face masks,” he said. “We are requiring all of our team members to wear face masks in the casino; and we are strongly encouraging it for our customers. If any customer does not have a face mask, we will provide them with one free of charge.
“We are doing temperature checks for everyone entering the building, so that would include customers. When you enter Belterra Resort you will pass by a thermal camera, so all customers will be screened for temperature when you enter the property, he continued. “We will be implementing social distancing throughout the resort, introducing spacing between slot machines and table game players and in the restaurants, so that people can maintain the recommended six feet of distance from others when they’re on the property.
“Finally, the big one is going to be santitation,” Strow said. “We have moved up our sanitation schedule on the property, so any touch surface is going to be sanitized very frequently, so that would include things like handrails, door handles, slot machines, chairs, chips, things like that. The idea being that we’re going to make sure that we’re maintaining a very frequent sanitation schedule for everyone’s health and safety when they’re on our property.”
So, with the large area that Belterra takes up, bringing the dormant facility back to life must have been a big task.
“Well, the good news is, we’ve had some practice now,” Strow said on Monday. “By the time we were able to open Belterra, we were already able to open 18 of our properties across the country, so fortunately we have gotten a lot of practice at this, so we put that experience to work and got Belterra re-opened relatively smoothly this morning.”
Strow said that with the initial opening, not everything is going to be available to customers immediately.
He noted that the casino itself will be open limited hours Mondays through Thursdays before returning to a 24-hour open cycle for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This gives workers a chance to make sure that cleanliness and sanitation protocols are being upheld to the highest standards.
The Grand Buffet at Belterra is not re-opening at this time, which is no real surprise because buffet-style restaurants and service have been the focus of concern at the state and national levels.
The Stadium Bar and Grill will be open while meeting social distancing guidelines, as will Nosh and other eateries on the property.
The Spa will remain closed as the re-opening kicks off; and valet service will not be available.
The 19 Restaurant will be open only on weekends as the re-opening starts; and the golf course is available for play, but the swimming pool will remain closed.
“It’s a very exciting moment for all of us,” Strow said. “Obviously we’re happy to welcome to our customers back, but we’re equally excited to get our team members back to work and welcome back the community. We understand that Belterra plays an important part in the community, so we’re happy to get back to business and start contributing to the community again.”
One of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic will be the annual fireworks display that Belterra has each year for the enjoyment of its customers on the community.
Strow said that although Boyd understands the significance of the fireworks here, social distancing recommendations and the overall safety of everyone make holding the fireworks this year impossible.
He said that it is expected that the July 4th fireworks display will return for everyone’s enjoyment in the future.
Boyd Gaming is one of the premiere casino operating companies in the world.
Along with Belterra, Boyd Gaming also owns and operates the Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa in Michigan City, Indiana.
Overall, Boyd Gaming owns properties in 10 states: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and in Las Vegas, Nevada — where Boyd owns and operates 12 hotels and casinos.
Boyd also owns Belterra Park near Cincinnati. That property is scheduled to re-open tomorrow (Friday, June 19th) in coordination with guidelines set by the Governor of Ohio.