Sacramento Cardrooms Go Al Fresco During Coronavirus Restrictions

While some businesses are moving indoors as coronavirus restrictions are relaxed, other businesses are doubling down on outdoor operations.

The familiar sounds of chips clinking and cards shuffling returned to Sacramento’s Capitol Casino and Limelight Cardrooms in recent weeks by inviting customers to gamble outside.

Patrons visiting Capitol Casino pass through the mostly empty indoor space to reach a massive decked out tent in the back. At the Limelight, they’ve transformed an existing patio into an outdoor casino.

“We’re all adapting and during this time period, but we’re trying to make the best of it, you know. And I think that’s what’s important is that, you know, everybody has challenges and this challenge is upon all of us,” said Limelight Cardroom Owner John Mikacich, who said he’s happy to start putting most of 37 employees back to work.

Keith Miranda sanitizes his hands while dealing three card poker at limelight Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.Andrew Nixon / CapRadio

In addition to moving the tables outside, some of the changes include temperature checks, face-coverings, plastic walls between players, frequent rotation of cards and washing the chips. Safety is key, said Mikacich.

“It only works if we all feel safe, if the staff doesn’t feel safe or the customers doesn’t don’t feel safe, then we don’t want to do it,” he added.

Jeff Bishop has been playing at Limelight for some 25 years. He said he’s missed the community of players and is excited to return, even if it’s next to a busy roadway.

“I would prefer to be indoors without a mask, but that [is] not going to happen for quite a while. Outdoors with a mask on it’s nice. The air is fresh. Yeah I have no problem with it,” Bishop said.

Staying safe during the pandemic may force us to give up some activities. Others require a coat.

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