CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — When West Virginia Governor Jim Justice imposed social distancing restrictions on the state last week, it meant that horse racing was limited to online fans and viewers of the TVG cable television channel which covers horse racing from 150 worldwide venues. The grandstand, adjacent to the Hollywood casino, was to remain empty.
But this week, with his stay-at-home edict, the horses are confined to their Charles Town stables. For local business, the situation is the worst in memory. Steve Petropouleas owns the Mountain View Diner directly across from the casino and track. He has 146 employees and said he is doing his best to rotate them into part-time shifts. But keeping the business going is a challenge, especially with no end to the crisis in sight.
“This is a new world here,” he says. “No one has experienced this before.”
Meanwhile, at the casino and track, there is little more activity than sweeping the stables and casino security making their rounds. One employee who did not wish to be identified said she was asked to sign a waiver of liability to continue working during the public health emergency. A request for comment from P N Gaming, doing business as Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, was not acknowledged.