June 29th seems to be the earliest possible date for Massachusetts’s casinos, including Encore Boston Harbor, to resume operations as the state will soon enter the Phase 2 of reopening plan, with phase 3 scheduled to start late this month.
In the first and second phases, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker allowed only essential businesses to resume operations after months of shutdown forced by the deadly corona virus pandemic that originated in China and gradually spread across the world, killing thousands of people. Phase 3, which is scheduled to start near the end of this month, will include non-essential businesses such as casinos and gambling venues.
However, there is no surety about the reopening of casinos late this month as the planned reopening date for non-essential businesses could be pushed back if required. A further hurdle in the anticipated reopening date for casinos is that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has not approved a reopening plan for the state’s three leading casinos, namely The Springfield MGM and Plainridge Park Casino along with the state’s one yet to identified entertainment venue.
Each of the three aforementioned commercial entertainment facilities recently told the state’s gaming regulator that they would require at least a couple of weeks to prepare for reopening requirements. The state is currently in the first phase of the reopening plan, and the second phase is scheduled to start on June 15th. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission may soon announce safeguards and defensive measures that casinos would have to implement before reopening their doors to the public.
Commenting on the topic, an industry expert said, “The plan would need to include the steps and measures the licensee will take to achieve compliance with the guidance and protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Massachusetts Department of Health, Governor Baker’s orders, and the Guidelines ultimately adopted by the Commission.”
Defensive measures include putting a limit on the number of slot machines and table games to help maintain social distancing, workers may be asked to undergo special training on new health and safety protocols, and there could be a cap on the size of visitors. In addition, the entertainment facilities may be asked to make arrangements for temperature screenings of both employees and guests. Anyone with temperature 100.4 or higher would be prevented from entering the facility.