Story Written By: Barbara L. Steinberg
Photo Credit: Angela Quan
Looking back: Parkwest Casino Lotus owner John Park and his design team spent 18 months envisioning a first-class casino to replace the old Silver Fox card room on Stockton Boulevard. The gleaming Parkwest Casino Lotus was that dream realized. Opened in 2017, the 16,000 square-foot Lotus boasts 17 card tables plus a full bar and restaurant. Vietnamese-centric, the resort-style card room is beautifully aesthetic and pristine. Suspended above the main floor is a spectacular, one-of-a-kind fabric and crystal chandelier, and Vietnamese artwork adorns the walls.
All of this is still true today, but much has changed since COVID-19 came knocking.
And now: Like other businesses in the wave of the pandemic, Parkwest Casino Lotus went dark in March 2020. John Park went into overdrive to investigate all of the questions and answers related to COVID-19 safety requirements. A team of attorneys and government relations helped develop a plan to reopen. It took many months of research to produce the resulting 45-page document.
Building a new safe outdoor gaming and dining area, Lotus reopened on August 27, 2020, with the approval of state, county, and city agencies. The transformation is nothing short of brilliant, and they are committed to operating with the highest standards to ensure the health and well-being of their customers, staff, and community. The outdoor smoke-free gaming area is 5,500 square feet and features the same popular table games EZ Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Blackjack X, Three-Card Poker, and Pai Gow Tiles. For games where the patrons touch the cards, the cards are removed from the table and replaced at least once every four hours. Where the players do not touch the cards, the cards are removed from the table and replaced every eight hours. Once the cards have been removed from the table, they are either destroyed or sanitized using a specific card cleaning solution that has been approved by the EPA to be effective against the Corona virus.
Security at the one entrance is courteous and well-organized. Masks are mandatory for all patrons and staff, and temperatures are taken with an FDA medical grade thermal infrared system with thermal imaging for accurate detection of temperatures. Every staff member is provided with high-quality face masks and nitrile gloves. Stringent guidelines are followed for sanitizing tables, chairs, tiles, and restrooms – cleaning is logged every hour. When changing dealers, the new dealers wipe down everything. Air purifier systems were installed. Plexiglas dividers were inserted between dealers and patrons on all gaming tables. Social distancing is encouraged and practiced. Patrons have been very complimentary and send their thanks to John Park.
Currently serving outdoor gaming patrons and guests, the alfresco restaurant serves American and authentic Asian cuisine. The casino and dining area is normally open 24/7, but under California’s statewide curfew in effect from November 21 to December 21, the card room will be open 5am to 10pm. Cocktails are available only with food orders. Patrons are allowed to take drinks into the gaming area but must be wearing their masks at all times. They may pull their mask down while taking a sip of the drink but must put the mask back over their mouth and nose immediately after taking a sip.
Preparing for colder temperatures, propane heaters sit outside the card room pumping warm air into the tent. Cashiers and restrooms are available indoors. Indoors all safety precautions are in place and ready for the day COVID restrictions are lifted and allow indoor gaming to resume.
Photo Credit: Angela Quan