Card clubs in Los Angeles County reopened Monday with health precautions, drawing a stream of gamblers and prompting expressions of relief from city leaders who have struggled without the key source of tax revenue.

The county’s Board of Supervisors and Department of Public Health gave the county’s seven card clubs the green light to welcome customers back — but only in outdoor settings, with players and employees wearing masks and with barriers separating gamblers who are less than six feet apart, among other restrictions.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the card rooms employed more than 10,000 workers and generated as much as 70% of the tax base for the small, working-class communities where they are located.

Some of the clubs are still in the midst of reopening and calling back previously furloughed employees so it is difficult to estimate how many workers will be brought back under the new guidelines. The Commerce Casino reported rehiring about 60% of its approximately 2,500 workers.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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