Casino restaurants opening under strict guidelines

CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Casinos are opening their doors.

Kind of.

Governor Steve Sisolak and the Nevada Gaming Control Board have allowed certain restaurants inside of gaming facilities to have dine-in customers.

But not every casino is compliant with the rules set in place during Governor Sisolak's Phase 1.

Duke's Steakhouse inside Casino Fandango in Carson City is one of the first restaurants to open its doors.

"My entire Duke's team that came in for Wednesday's training is so excited to get back to work," said Casino Fandango President and General Manager Court Cardinal. "There are smiles on their faces. It's like Christmas."

Getting lucky at the casino typically means big payouts. But for Cardinal, he created his own luck thanks to the casino's floor plan.

"The gaming control board came out and said you can open a restaurant inside of a casino if it has a separate entrance and separate bathrooms," he said. "You're not allowed to traverse or cross the gaming floor."

Guests don't have to do that inside Casino Fandango to get to Duke's. Many casinos don't have that luxury. Starting Friday people who want to dine-in will come in through the back entrance. That's just the start.

"At the door you'll be greeted by an employee and have your temperature taken," according to Cardinal. "If it's 100 degrees or above you won't be allowed in the building."

Floor markers space people six feet apart while they wait. Every other booth will not have a table setting. Servers will also wear masks and gloves.

"There's a lot of money going out just to be able to comply with what the new rules and regulations are," said Cardinal.

Duke's Steakhouse usually seats close to 200 guests. The capacity will be cut in half Friday because of social distancing measures. Reservations are nearly full for Friday's reopening.

The menu will be close to what it usually is. Items that have to be dry-aged 28 days will not be included.

Duke's bar will not be open and the restaurant will not hold any Happy Hour deals during Phase 1.

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