By Tim McNicholas

CHICAGO (CBS) — Hard Rock wants to hire hundreds of people for their new Gary casino, set to open in the early spring, but with COVID hospitalizations on the rise, all bets are off on what a grand opening could look like.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas took a tour of the work in progress.

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Today it’s a construction zone. By spring 2021, it will be a $300 million casino, complete with restaurants and a concert venue.

“It’s incredibly important,” said Matt Schuffert, president of the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana. “There’s a lot of folks, like you said, that are looking for the opportunity to get back to work; and by building this facility, we’ve got a lot of opportunities for people to come and join and our team.”

Schuffert said this will be Gary’s only casino. The Majestic Star will close, and those employees will transfer to Hard Rock.

The company is also looking to hire about 800 new employees, from card dealing to human resources.

What will be in place to keep employees and gamers safe at the new casino?

“Well, it’s hard to speculate what march will look like, but today there’s slot machines are separated apart, there’s food and beverage social distancing, and a limit on the number of tables you can operate. A maximum for the number of people who can play at a table,” Schuffert said.

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If it were finished and open today, they’d also require temperature checks for team members and masks for staff and guests.

Indiana casinos are still operating with restrictions as COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state are at an all-time high.

“It’s hard to speculate and say what the spring is going to look like, but obviously we’ll pay attention to whatever is going on from a pandemic, regulatory perspective,” Schuffert said.

While construction charges ahead, Hard Rock will host hiring events in Gary on Nov. 17 and Nov. 19.

“You don’t need to know anything about blackjack. What we really want you to know is how to have a great experience with the customer, great personality. We will definitely train for the rest,” said Dawn Reynolds-Pettit, vice president of Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana.

Hard Rock said they’ll have health restrictions at the hiring events, too; including capacity limits and COVID-19 screening questions.

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Those November hiring events will be at Majestic Star Pavillion, specifically for prospective dealers. There will be more hiring events in January for human resources, finance, and other positions. For more information, visit the casino’s website.

Tim McNicholas