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Stars Casino in Tracy reopens by moving gaming operations to outdoor patio area

Stars Casino in Tracy reopened after a five-month closure due to public health guidelines. Outdoor gaming operations began at noon on Saturday.

TRACY, Calif. — Carol Lussier worked as a card dealer for more than three decades for Stars Casino.  She found herself living off unemployment when the casino shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“When the government kicked in the 600 dollars a week, it made it barely manageable because as a dealer, your pay rate is only the minimum,” Lussier said.

Stars Casino reopened for outdoor operations after health guidelines where modified by state health officials. Lussier is a high risk for severe symptoms of the coronavirus due to her age but said being able to get back to work is worth the risk.

“I think with all the protocols that we have, I feel very safe here I feel safer than I do when I go to the supermarket,” Lussier said.

Emmanuel Macalino, a Stars Casino manager, said staying within social distancing guidelines and battling the summer heat were the most significant challenges when it came to moving the cardroom to the patio.

“We also have to deal with the weather as you can see it’s pretty toasty out here, and we put up the shades, and we still need allow the airflow,” Macalino said.

Guests are also required to have their temperatures check, wear a mask and wear a wrist band before they could enter the outdoor casino area.

The outdoor Stars Casino only allows for 50 percent capacity. Macalino said California requires that each table is sanitized before and after guests sit down to place a bet and hand cleaning stations are available throughout.

“Our tables are reduced in capacity instead of having eight players, we only have four and that’s to provide ample space between them,” Macalino said.

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