After shutting down for nearly three months, the Canterbury Park Card Casino opened in mid-June — with equal amounts of caution and hope.

“We’re as well prepared as we can be,” says Michael Hochman, Vice President of Casino Operations at Canterbury Park. “Everyone is doing everything they can to make sure our gaming floor is as safe as possible for both employees and guests.”

Those safety precautions include health screenings, social distancing, frequent cleaning, acrylic barriers, sanitizer stations positioned throughout the property, and mandatory mask requirements. Even game chips are sanitized with ultraviolet light every day.

“Some casino floors are ‘strongly encouraging’ mask usage at their tables, but we’re actually requiring it,” says Michael, who was initially concerned about how guests would respond to mask requirements but found that it hasn’t been a problem.

And what are Canterbury Park’s business prospects going forward as the pandemic persists? “It’s hard to say, as we’re still getting a feel for how behaviors might change and how comfortable people are in social situations,” says Michael. “We do know that while we’re somewhat stymied through the use of plexiglass and masks, people still love the social aspects — and that’s what we do.”

Given that the highest risk of unfavorable outcomes with COVID-19 is with older adults, Canterbury Park anticipates there may be a drop in attendance from guests in that demographic.

Ultimately, however, uncertainty is the operative word. “There was never a chapter on conducting business during pandemics,” says Michael.

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