Madison Casino Reopens in Phases

By Ardith Van Riper

     The phased opening began May 27 at Ho-Chunk Gaming – Madison.  Guests formed a line around the edge of the parking lot extending from the front door to the second driveway before the doors unlocked at 10:00 AM.  The Department of Business, Department of Health, Department of Labor Safety Division, and the Executive Management team at Ho-Chunk Gaming – Madison collaborated for a safe, phased reopen.

     Guests who were granted entry were required to meet eligibility requirements.  First, the guest must be an active Rewards Club Member with a Wisconsin identification. Those without a Wisconsin identification card are denied entry.  Second, patrons receive a temperature check.  Anyone with a temperature of 104 and above is denied entry with recommendations to see a physician.  Third, facemasks are required at all times while in the facility.  Finally, the guest must remove the face mask so that security and surveillance can compare their face with their identification. 

     A maximum of 400 is allowed entry at any given time.  Only one entrance and one exit are currently being used to maintain headcount.  Guests are reminded to practice social distancing, and those failing to wear a face mask properly will be asked to leave.  No carry-ins of food or drink allowed.

     The entire facility is smoke-free, and a designated area is provided outside the building using a side doorway.  Guests are reminded that they must return to the end of the line to regain entry once they leave the building.  This reminder does not include those utilizing the designated smoking area.

     Active Rewards Club Members who may have lost their player’s card can obtain a replacement card, but no new cards are issued.  Promotional plays and reward points are currently suspended.

     Several slot machines have been disabled in order to help with social distancing.  Food and drinks are not served nor sold.  Employees regularly sanitize after each transaction or use of a machine. The Marketing Department reduced the number of touchpoints.  Numerous Plexiglas barriers have been constructed throughout the facility, and a significant number of hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the gaming floor and employee areas.   

     Nearly sixty percent of staff returned.  Employees received safety training before the soft reopen in terms of an overview of COVID-19, worksite protection, employee protection, and social and psychological support.  All employees must wear a face mask, and all receive a temperature screening when entering the facility.

     Security, Slots, and Environmental Services are required to wear both cloth face masks and face shields because they are primarily on the gaming floor.

     “We have enlisted the latest technology in sterilizing protection.  To disinfect and sanitize, Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison has acquired the services of a company to perform a two-step disinfection and long lasting surface anti-microbial treatment applied with an electrostatic sprayer throughout the facility,” Daniel Brown, Executive Manager, Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison stated. “The application lasts for 30 days before needing reapplication.”

     “Rest assured, we are doing everything within our control to provide a safe environment for our guests and employees.”

     The start of phase two is yet to be determined. 

     Ho-Chunk Gaming – Nekoosa opens their doors June 16 at 8:00 AM, and the reopen of the remaining Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin facilities have yet to be determined.