Hard Rock may reopen Florida casinos as coronavirus lockdowns ease

Hard Rock International may reopen some Florida casinos with new coronavirus safety measures as soon as the end of May as the U.S. gradually lifts lockdowns imposed to curb the disease's spread.

There is no definitive timeline for following suit worldwide, Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen told FOX Business' Dagen McDowell.

The company shuttered operations alongside competitors as governments imposed stay-at-home orders to curb large gatherings where the virus might be transmitted more easily. Hard Rock International has venues across 75 countries, including 180 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos.

The shutdowns battered the hospitality industry, taking a toll on S&P 500 Casino & Gaming firms such as Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts. In fact, casinos in Macao, the world’s largest gambling enclave, reported a record plunge in gaming revenue in February after a 15-day closure due to the virus, first identified in Wuhan, China.

With local governments working to reopen parts of the now-battered U.S. economy, casinos are beginning to get back into the game.

"We are anticipating very large crowds," Allen said. "We saw opens last week in other parts of the U.S. and frankly, volumes are tremendous."

Allen's projection comes just after hundreds of people stood in line Tuesday waiting to enter a casino in central Oklahoma that was allowed to reopen with social distancing restrictions and sanitation safeguards in place.

To guard against a resurgence of the coronavirus, Hard Rock plans to limit crowds to 50 percent of capacity, create sanitizing stations, keep some machines turned off to support social distancing, use dividers at tables, shields for dealers and begin thermal body imaging at its larger casinos.

Employees will also be equipped with gloves and masks.

Hard Rock's plan comes on the heels of similar measures at rival MGM Resorts, which released its “Seven-Point Safety Plan” Tuesday.

This story contains material from the previous FOX Business reports.

Read updates at FOXBusiness.com.