Massachusetts casinos have started to reopen following roughly 16 weeks of closure.
It’s welcome progress for both gamers and casinos, the latter of which sustained severe economic damage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plainridge wins race to reopen first
Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville was the first Massachusetts casino to reopen. It welcomed guests Wednesday morning in a limited capacity.
Highlighted in its reopening update were various safety measures:
- Hand sanitizing stations
- Social distancing floor stickers
- Plexiglass dividers
- Limited operational slot machines
“While the amenities our customers have come to know and love may be somewhat limited for the time being, the ability to safely welcome back our team members and guests remains our top priority,” said Lance George, Plainridge’s vice president and general manager, in the update.
Likewise, George said the casino is collaborating with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, government officials, and public health professionals to “finalize comprehensive reopening protocols and new health and safety precautions.”
He also outlined other safety measures including suspended banquet services, second-floor and restaurant closures, and more.
Deep cleaning will close the property from 2 to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Casinos were given the OK to open in the state on Monday. It coincided with the third phase of Massachusetts’ and Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan.
Massachusetts casinos closed on March 14, and now must meet minimum requirements set by the MGC before reopening.
Encore, MGM to welcome guests early next week
Encore Boston Harbor is slated to reopen its doors on July 12.
According to the casino, “Every effort has been made to preserve Encore’s luxury experience and provide guests with the peace of mind needed to enjoy a fun and relaxing return.”
Safety measures will include:
- Temperature scans
- Mandatory masks
- Hand sanitizer stations
- Social distancing
MGM Springfield will open one day later, on July 13.
“When we reopen our doors, we do so with the health and safety of our guests and employees as our number one priority,” said Chris Kelley, MGM Resorts’ president of the northeast group, in a statement.
“The property will look a little different, but the great experience at MGM Springfield will remain the same. We look forward to welcoming our guests back.”
MGM’s protocols, like free masks and the at-times controversial plexiglass barriers, are similar to what is being enforced at the state’s other casinos. Moreover, poker, roulette and craps are unavailable during the casino’s first phase of reopening.
In addition, MGM’s phased reopening means the hotel and spa will stay closed until an unspecified date. The casinos is also limiting dining options and closing valet services.
Once the MGC approves the casino’s reopening plans, they are expected to reopen at around 25% capacity.
Meanwhile, Encore Boston Harbor announced last week it will furlough 3,000 employees. MGM Springfield has said it will lay off nearly 2,000 employees in August.
It is “the most challenging period ever faced by MGM,” said Springfield’s acting Chief Executive Bill Hornbuckle. The company has already furloughed around 63,000 workers nationwide. Rehire numbers remain unclear.