PA Bans Smoking in Casinos Due to Mask Requirement
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has temporarily banned smoking on casino floors in keeping with a state directive requiring masks in all indoor venues. The ban was ordered July 1 from Health Department Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine (l.).
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, responding to a directive from Governor Tom Wolf requiring face coverings in all indoor public spaces to protect against the Covid-19 virus, has temporarily banned smoking inside the state’s casinos.
PGCB spokesman Doug Harbach told the Penn Live news site that the mask order, signed by Health Department Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine on June 1, logically required a smoking ban.
“In reading that order, it became evident that there were very few exceptions to where a mask must be worn and that there was no exception to pulling down the mask in order to smoke,” Harbach said.
“As a result, the Gaming Control Board executive director communicated with all of the casinos and, while recognizing that some casinos had already decided to have a complete smoking ban, informed them that he saw the Health Department order regarding masks to therefore require that there be no indoor smoking at their facilities.”
Many casinos had already proactively halted indoor smoking and setup outdoor areas for customers as they reopened across the state once their home county reached the green phase of Wolf’s reopening plan, which permitted casinos to open at 50 percent capacity. Parx Casino in Bensalem and Meadows Casino near Pittsburgh announced a temporary ban last week, ahead of the statewide order.
Smoking will still be permitted at the outdoor gaming areas and smoking lounges maintained by several casinos.