Colonial Downs and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium Stress Safety as Number One Priority


In the current unpredictable and health-driven world, safety is primary for Colonial Downs Racetrack and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium.

“Safety over revenues,” said Executive Vice President of Operations John Marshall in an interview with The Virginia Star. “That is the attitude of our team and that’s how we’re operating.”

After closing down in March because of the spread of COVID-19, the emporium reopened in July with new safety measures for customers and staff outlined in a set of standards call extra care.

“Within extra care there are specific protocols that are directly guided and influenced by the authorities and local officials,” Marshall told The Star. “For instance, when a guest comes to Rosie’s the first thing they do is get their temperature checked and then their ID verified and if they do not have a mask we provide a mask, as masks are required in Virginia. Then the folks are free to come in and play.”

Rosie’s and Colonial Downs have implemented even more health and safety measures, including operating at less than 50 percent of its rated occupancy or about 1,000 people.

Additionally, plexiglass barriers have been installed between each gaming machine, even though some games are turned off to emphasize physical distancing, and an accountability system named sure check was created, which records anytime a team member reminds someone to pull up their mask or when an area is disinfected by the cleaning crew, Marshall said.

Marshall admitted that Colonial Downs and Rosie’s revenues are not where they had originally expected back in March, before the COVID-19 shutdown, but there has been a steady ascension in revenue in the past weeks since reopening.

Colonial Downs and Rosie’s also realize that it is not special amongst other businesses negatively impacted by the virus and are just one of many companies adopting changes in this new world, Marshall said.

Along with the safety measures implemented in extra care, employees must get their temperature taken and answer six questions designed to indicate any possible exposure or related symptoms. Employees must complete these steps before beginning a shift, Marshall said.

If an employee answers yes to any of the questions or tests positive human resources are notified via text immediately. Then, internal contact tracing is done to figure out who may have been exposed and if the exposure was associated with work or outside of work, according to Marshall.

Despite the increased precautions, horse racing is in full swing at Colonial Downs with races happening through September 2, including the Virginia Derby taking place on September 1.

No spectators are allowed outside in the stands during races, but guests can reserve tables on the third floor to view the event, watch on televisions inside Rosie’s or watch and wager on the races online at, according to Marshall.

“We emphasize our efforts for extra care and we emphasize that we have worked hard to set Rosie’s up to provide good, clean fun,” Marshall said.

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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Colonial Downs” by twnewsbadge. CC BY 2.0.








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