Biz Buzz Monday: Dubuque casinos approach return to normalcy

Q Casino in Dubuque recently extended its business hours. PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA REILLY

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this update, we will highlight more developments from Dubuque and Dyersville, Iowa, in Tuesday’s edition.

Dubuque casinos are once again embracing the round-the-clock hours that they offered prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q Casino remained open throughout the past weekend, opening at 7 a.m. Friday and not closing its doors again until 3 a.m. today.

“When we looked at the numbers, we thought this was the right move,” said General Manager Brian Rakestraw. “(Prior to this weekend,) there were still people here when we closed on the weekends. We found that the people who are coming out are wanting to stay a bit later.”

The extended weekend hours mark another step toward normalcy for Q, which was open 24 hours per day and seven days per week prior to the pandemic. Rakestraw said the casino will continue to remain closed for the time being from 3 to 7 a.m. on weekdays.

Rakestraw emphasized that Q is still taking steps to enhance safety, including deep cleaning and encouraging social distancing.

The industry in general is attempting to return to form after massive disruptions caused by the pandemic, which included more than two months of shutdowns at both Dubuque casinos last spring.

Marty Maiers, marketing director for Diamond Jo Casino, said that casino returned to 24-hour operations throughout the week in mid-February.

“We wanted to find the right time to (extend our hours,) and at that point, we wanted to go 24/7,” Maiers said.

Both casinos are still far from a complete return to normalcy, however.

Maiers said three Diamond Jo restaurants — Woodfire, The Filament and Subway — have reopened. But the casino’s buffet, sports bar and live entertainment venue remain closed.

The first scheduled live show in Mississippi Moon Bar is in September, he added.

“The plan for Mississippi Moon Bar is still pretty fluid,” he said. “We want to wait until it is completely safe.”

At Q Casino and Hotel, the indoor music venue — known as Q Showroom — also remains closed.

Q has reopened its sports bar and Houlihan’s restaurant, but Farmhouse Kitchen remains closed.

“We’re constantly evaluating those areas (dining and entertainment),” Rakestraw said. “Until we see a big increase in attendance, we don’t know when those things will all reopen.”