CRIPPLE CREEK — Casinos in Cripple Creek reopened Monday after being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For now, visitors will only be able to play the slot machines while gaming tables are expected to be reviewed in the coming weeks.
Downtown was filled with cars and people standing outside the casinos which opened at 10 a.m. Staff members at some casinos shared that a few hours prior to opening people were waiting in line, wanting to be the first ones in to land a spot at a machine. Not all machines are available due to social distancing requirements.
People from near and far came to visit the small town. Staci Pruett from Loveland said, "We've hit some casinos and done some shopping."
The reopening of casinos is something people like Wildwood Casino Ambassador Scott Remy have been waiting for. He said, "I've been back only a few days after three months off."
He's one of just many workers who was furloughed due to COVID-19. He said, "It got to the point where you're wondering if we'd come back and then seeing all our great people show up today - it's been wonderful."
Matt Andrighetti, general manager for Wildwood Casino, said, "We actually had people starting to line up about 8/8:30...we opened up at 10 o'clock on the dot and it's been going crazy ever since."
Customers like Brenda Krinkie said, "I usually come down a couple times a year...I really missed it."
Being able to play the slots again "is so awesome. It is so awesome," she said.
Fellow customer Karen Frey said, "It's just fun, just fun. Life has been a little stressful and it's stressful for a lot of people so it's just great to be out."
When we spoke with Fred Periquet he was waiting in line to get into the casino. He said, "Feels great. There's that anticipation to have a little fun."
Over at the Double Eagle Hotel & Casino, Director of Marketing Leslie Harris said, "We're super excited. The adrenaline's going crazy. We're so happy."
Customer Patricia Fox said, "It's fun. I get to meet all my friends again, get to say hi, and I hit a couple jackpots."
If you're headed to the casinos make sure you have your mask to get in and be prepared to get your temperature checked.
Folks are lining up ready for the casinos reopening in Cripple Creek at 10 am. pic.twitter.com/rc4xHGf80j— Alex O'Brien (@WXAlexOBrien) June 15, 2020
The approval of the variance request means employees will have to wear a mask at all times. Customers will wear a mask upon entering a casino and they'll do a health screening.
The state health department detailed in the approval that 6 feet of distance must be achieved and establishments must limit 50% "of the posted occupancy code limit ensuring a minimum 28 square feet per person not to exceed more than 175 people at any given time in a confined indoor space, and 250 people in any outdoor setting."
Employees will also have to monitor daily for symptoms and those showing symptoms will have to be isolated.