Illinois churches, Iowa casinos among places allowed to reopen

Published: May. 29, 2020 at 11:14 PM CDT
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Many places on both sides of the river are preparing to reopen. In Illinois, church restrictions have been lifted and starting Monday, June 1st, Iowa casinos will be able to operate.

The management at Rhythm City Casino Resort said they’re ready and have implemented some changes.

“As you look around the property today, there's hand sanitizing stations all over the place. If you go on the gaming floor when that particular piece opens up, there's going to be six-foot distance between slots, “ said Mo Hyder, General Manager of Rhythm City Resort.

The resort’s hotel, restaurants, and spa reopened on May 20th and Hyder said all of the employees went through extensive training. Along with additional training, the casino has signs reminding patrons to social distance.

“Signage is very critical along with the fact that employees have been trained. We went through some very extensive training for employees on the COVID-19 measures themselves. Not only did we do that, but we also are requiring employees to wear masks,” Hyder said.

With a portion of their gaming proceeds going to the Regional Development Authority, Hyder says they’re looking forward to continuing to give back.

“With this reopening, all of those things can start happening again and not only the RDA, but a portion of our revenue and income goes to the state, the city, and the county as well. So, along with all the other programs and charitable causes that we support in the community so those are very important. So we're very excited to be able to open the casino and start doing those things.

In Illinois, restrictions for churches were lifted but Community Outreach Worship Center in East Moline is going to continue their online services.

For more than a decade, Pastor Larry Westbrook has led the church. The Quad Cities native said they’re going to wait to reunite for in-person services.

“We’re not assembling at all right now and we don't really have any plans although we're looking at maybe the end of June and then maybe later,” Westbrook said.

While they continue operating solely online, Westbrook says they’re seeing an increase in viewership

“We are reaching more people. There's more interest. I think there's a great need to hear some good news nowadays. There are people who are looking for hope,” he said.

The pastor said he’s looking forward to the day they’ll reunite again.

“We're always hopeful, like everyone else, that we can come together physically, and we wait for those days, you know, we long for those days but we have to do it safely,” he said.

Both the casino and the church said they’re closely following IDPH and CDC guidelines for further guidance.