Holiday events and promotions are in full swing at Massachusetts casinos. MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park are likely preparing for higher capacities.
While authorities have lifted state restrictions, casino patrons may be wondering what the COVID-19 protocols and recommendations are for the casinos in MA.
Current COVID numbers and recommendations
Casinos in Massachusetts fully reopened in May. After a 4-0 vote by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), they lifted all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on casinos in MA.
While restrictions are lifted, the concern of spread remains, particularly as we head into the holiday season. On Nov. 30, Massachusetts saw a 4% positivity rate, which was the state’s highest since the end of Jan.
In MA, COVID-19 breakthrough cases in individuals who have been vaccinated continue to arise. As of Nov. 27, a total of 77,647 breakthrough cases have been reported, representing 1.6% of the state’s vaccinated individuals.
In Nov., the governor’s office issued a press release announcing that COVID-19 vaccine boosters are available. Vaccinated adults are encouraged to get a booster shot six months after their second dose.
Because of the growing number of breakthrough cases, masks are recommended in any indoor public place, regardless of vaccination status.
What MA casinos are doing to keep patrons safe
A meeting was held on Aug. 4 between state casinos and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). After the meeting, the casinos agreed to continue to comply with the governor’s advice and any Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations that apply.
This means that Massachusetts casinos will:
- Post signs recommending all patrons wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status
- Require unvaccinated employees to wear masks while at work
- Require proof of vaccination from employees before allowing them to go unmasked
Aside from the above regulations, each MA casino has varying policies when it comes to COVID-19. Each casino is working closely with the DPH and doing its part to limit the spread of COVID-19 at its facilities.
Encore Boston Harbor reported at the Aug. 4 meeting that roughly 70% of employees are fully vaccinated. Employees are required to show proof of vaccination before going unmasked. Encore also said that roughly 50% of casino patrons are still wearing masks.
MGM Springfield reported that 50% of its employees are fully vaccinated at the time of the meeting. However, the casino requires all employees to wear masks at work, regardless of their vaccination status.
MGM further protects its guests with its Stay Well rooms. These rooms set wellness precaution standards, including air purification and UV light cleaning protocols to reduce bacteria and viruses.
Plainridge Park Casino reported that between 60-65% of employees are fully vaccinated. The casino also agreed to require proof of vaccination for employees wanting to go unmasked.
Does increased business, employment at Massachusetts casinos mean more COVID risk?
Oct. revenue reported by Massachusetts casinos broke records for the state. In addition, MGM Springfield reported in Nov. that its employment numbers continue to increase with the lifted restrictions.
With revenue and employment numbers rising for Massachusetts casinos, this means more people are flocking to the properties every month. As the holidays approach, special events and promotions will positively impact traffic to the casinos.
For casinos in MA, attendance and revenue continue to increase as restrictions lift. Casino patrons need to remain diligent and cautious to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
The CDC recommends frequent hand-washing and reasonable social distancing to limit the spread. If you’ve had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that you stay home.