New health guidelines aimed at gambling venues as they stay open

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The California Department of Public Health released new guidelines Friday aimed at gambling venues, which are still open despite public health officials’ new policy to cancel public gatherings of 250 people or more.

“I assure you we are leaning in. We’re not being passive,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “I think we’re meeting the moment, and we’re not going to allow people to be separate and above if it puts the health of the people of the state of California at risk.”

Newsom on Thursday signed an executive order that recommended all California residents listen to the Department of Public Health. Disneyland voluntarily shut down Friday at midnight and the hope is that by the end of the weekend, casinos and card rooms will also close.

“The reason we didn’t do it is because of the complexity of their unique circumstances. But I assure you, we are moving quickly and effectively toward a resolution in those spaces,” said Newsom.

Harness racing at Cal Expo went as planned but there were no fans in attendance.

“Obviously, when you think you’ve seen it all you haven’t,” said Chris Schick with Watch and Wager.

With only 6% of their business coming from on-site attendance and the rest coming from close-circuit or internet TV, it was important to keep the business going for the jockeys and 51 employees.

“From a business point of view, it’s not that big of a jolt to us. We pay out $50K a night in purses, which is obviously very important to their livelihood,” said Schick. “So, it’s very important to the welfare of our employee and their families that we continue to race.”

Even though no one will be in attendance tomorrow, they will be racing.

The new guidelines for card rooms and casinos include frequent cleaning of playing cards, chips, shuffling machines and other objects touched by multiple people.

As of Friday night, at least one gambling venue had voluntarily closed.

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