Bestbet Jacksonville mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for poker-room staff

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: August 6, 2021 10:28 am EDT

Following on the heels of its cancellation of a late-August World Poker Tour visit over increasing COVID-19 spread, Bestbet Jacksonville announced on Wednesday that its employees will have to be vaccinated to continue working. Bestbet issued a press release about its decision in addition to communicating the mandate to its workforce.

Bestbet declared its stance on requiring employee vaccinations as follows:

“At bestbet, our objective is to provide the safest possible environment for ALL employees and guests, while also doing what is right to protect all of those around us in the communities to which we live and work. Receiving the vaccine is the safest and best way to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus and all the known variants.

“Effective today, Wednesday August 4, all current and future bestbet Team members will be required to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Vaccinations are easily and readily available here in Northeast Florida. All current Team members will have until October 15, 2021, to receive either the single-dose or two-dose vaccine.”

Mandate impacts both Jacksonville-area rooms

Bestbet Jacksonville operates two cardrooms in the greater Jacksonville area, and the vaccination mandate covers both facilities. The main Jacksonville room, on the city’s east side, is home to the just-cancelled WPT event. Bestbet’s other room, in the southwest suburb of Orange Park, also offers cash games and tourneys. Both venues also spread other card games and offer pari-mutuel wagering.

The vaccination mandate also comes just days after Bestbet Jacksonville announced that all people entering their facilities must wear masks. “Effective on July 30, 2021,” Bestbet announced last week, “all employees and visitors will be required to wear an appropriate facial covering (covering the nose and mouth) while inside our facilities.”

The WPT series originally slated to run August 13-30 remains Bestbet Jacksonville’s only poker cancellation to date. All other cash game and daily tourneys continue to run as scheduled. That also includes Bestbet Jacksonville’s live-streamed cash games, which run three times each week. The streamed games begin at 7pm each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The Jacksonville region and Florida in general remains one of the United States’ largest breakout areas for COVID-19’s resurgence. The New York Times‘ daily coronavirus tracker shows Jacksonville and northeast Florida as having one of the highest infection rates in the nation. Among populous U.S. regions, only the greater New Orleans area is impacted by a higher coronavirus surge.

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