Philadelphia Casinos to Require Vax Proof for Entry, Upstate New York Casinos Reimplement Mask Mandates

Philadelphia casinos will soon require visitors to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry. The regulatory change follows a city order that all indoor gatherings be held only with people who are fully inoculated against the coronavirus.

Philadelphia casinos vaccination omicron
Philadelphia casinos vaccination omicron
Ruth Hopson, Philadelphia’s oldest city resident at 108 years old, poses for a photo after receiving her COVID-19 vaccine in March of 2021. Philadelphia casinos will require vaccination proof for entry beginning later next month. (Image: The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Effective January 3, any indoor setting where food is served within the city limits is required to obtain documentation showing that an individual has received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson. Guests seeking entry can also provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test within the past 24 hours.

The vax mandate applies only to Live! Casino Hotel Philadelphia and Rivers Casino Philadelphia. Philly’s regional casinos — Parx, Harrah’s Philadelphia, and Valley Forge Casino Resort — are not within the city’s jurisdictions.

Negative tests at Live! and Rivers will not be accepted come January 17. On that date, only fully vaccinated people will be able to enter the two casinos.

Omicron Challenges

2021 was supposed to be a holiday season extra special with families and friends gathering again after a year largely called off due to the pandemic. But omicron has threatened those plans for many.

COVID-19 cases are spiking in many parts of the US. And that’s prompting some states and cities to reimplement mask and/or vaccination requirements for public settings.

Philadelphia isn’t the only casino market where vaccinations are soon required to gamble indoors. In New Orleans, the city has mandated that Harrah’s obtain proof of vaccination or a recent negative test conducted within 72 hours from patrons.

In New York, the four upstate and two downstate casinos are all requiring guests to wear face masks regardless of vaccination status. Resorts World New York City in Queens is taking it a step further by requiring vaccine cards for entry.

Tribal casinos upstate are voluntarily adhering to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) orders regarding indoor face masks. The Seneca and Oneida Indian nations are both demanding face coverings for workers and guests.

The three major cruise lines — Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian — are also responding to omicron.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean are mandating that passengers wear face coverings while in all indoor public areas of the ship. Norwegian is only allowing fully vaccinated people to board, and therefore masks are not required while on the vessel.

COVID-19 Numbers

Christmas week is here, but so is another spike of coronavirus cases.

The latest data reveals that the seven-day average of new cases in the US — as of December 19 — was 132,851. That is nearly double the weekly average new case count of 71,795 incurred in late November.

The surge has health officials concerned. Some are warning that the US could be headed towards yet another lockdown in early 2022.

It is quite likely that we are going to see in some sections of the country a significant stress on the hospital system as well as the health care workers who are getting exhausted by all of this,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci on ABC’s “This Week.”

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