CRIPPLE CREEK — With mask mandates being lifted giving many vaccinated folks the chance to show their smiling faces in public, and it’s making one community hit especially hard by the pandemic finally feel normal again. So normal, the community is expanding.
In Cripple Creek, it’s about the entire experience.
“It’s not just about the gambling,” Cripple Creek visitor Andrea Fitzgerald said. “It’s the history.”
“There’s a great ice cream place up here too,” her husband Dennis Fitzgerald said.
“You can have a good time here and that’s what I’m out for,” Cripple Creek visitor Karen Park said.
But that’s been hard to do the past year-plus.COVID-19 restrictions forced casinos to totally shut down last spring. Then when they could reopen, they faced limited capacities--even had to shut down table games.
“It was awful,” Park said.
Awful--not just for visitors like Park.
“It was unfair for the employees because, you know, it wasn’t their fault,” she said.
That’s why Saturday felt so nice.
“I’m enjoying just being back to normal,” Park said.
For the first time in over a year, vaccinated guests won’t have to hide their poker face under a mask.
“Unless you haven’t had the shot,” Dennis Fitzgerald said.
It feels like old times.
“I can walk in and I can see smiling faces,” Park said.
And it’s ushering in new times. Bronco Billy’s Casino recently broke ground on a massive expansion--bringing resort style amenities and lots of economic growth opportunities to town.
It’s not just the economy that’s winning.
“We won $53,” Andrea Fitzgerald said.
“I won two $100 jackpots,” Park said.
The visitors--literally and figuratively--can finally cash in on their visit.
“I like to see the people in the casino having fun,” Park said.