An employee at the Bestbet Jacksonville poker and racing facility in Jacksonville, Florida, tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, according to a spokesperson.
The Bestbet spokesperson said that the employee in question was asymptomatic and had tested positive in the 24 hours prior to the announcement, which came on Sunday evening.
Bestbet Jacksonville Reopened with Fewer Players, Masks Required
Despite the test, Bestbet doesn’t plan on closing its poker room. However, it is seeking out individuals who came into contact with the employee. The spokesperson said that Bestbet is following CDC guidelines, which include “enhanced cleaning” of the establishment.
Like nearly every other gaming venue in the US, Bestbet Jacksonville shut down on March 17 due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. Prior to that decision, patrons reported that the poker room was providing customers with gloves, and asking visitors to sit one seat apart from each other.
That changed on Friday, May 22, when Bestbet reopened its facilities in Jacksonville and Orange Park. The new rules implemented temperature tests and masks for all players and employees, as well as regular use of hand sanitizer. All games ran six-handed, and the room allowed only 50% occupancy at any time. However, Bestbet didn’t install plexiglass or any other partitions between players.
Bestbet Jacksonville runs the annual World Poker Tour Bestbet Bounty Scramble in October, which offered a guaranteed $1 million in prize money for its main event in 2019. The room, which holds 70 poker tables, hosts live streaming poker games and numerous tournaments throughout the year.
Coronavirus Cases on the Rise Throughout Florida
The facility has traditionally hosted live greyhound racing, but Florida voters overwhelmingly supported a measure to ban dog races in November 2018. That ban will go into effect in 2021, though Bestbet currently only runs races out of its Orange Park facility.
Bestbet Jacksonville has been looking to expand its offerings. Back in 2017, the facility applied to add 2,000 slot machines after Duval County voters approved an amendment that authorized slots at the track. State gaming regulators blocked the move, as the referendum wasn’t authorized under state law.
The positive COVID-19 test comes as coronavirus cases are increasing rapidly throughout the state of Florida. According to The New York Times, more than 100,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state, and the disease has caused more than 3,100 deaths. Cases in Duval County are spiking – averaging about 130 per day at the moment – though the majority of infections continue to occur in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.