MGM Resorts International has become the latest major US casino operator to set out plans to reopen its gambling facilities in Mississippi, after closing as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica plans to reopen to the public on May 25, with the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi to follow on June 1. MGM said it would also host an invitation-only weekend at each casino ahead of them reopening to the public.
All venues in the state have been closed since 16 March.
In line with new Mississippi Gaming Commission guidelines, each of the casinos will operate at 50% capacity, while MGM also said table games and slot machines will be configured to allow for social distancing.
“Our hearts are with everyone in our communities, and around the world, who has been personally impacted by this crisis,” MGM Resorts acting chief executive and president Bill Hornbuckle said. “As we plan to reopen our resorts, the health and safety of our guests and employees guide all of our decision-making.
“Getting many of our employees back to work and welcoming guests through our doors once again will allow us to do what we do best – entertain. We can’t wait.”
MGM will also implement its own enhanced health and safety measures at the two casinos, having announced a new ‘Seven-Point Safety Plan’ last week.
Among the protocols set out in the plan are staff screening, temperature checks and coronavirus specific training, as well as a mandatory requirement for employees to wear masks and the installation of fabricated hand-washing stations on casino floors.
Other measures include plexiglass barriers in installing areas where physical distancing presents challenges, allowing guests to view digital menus on their mobile devices and sending text message notifications when their tables are ready.
MGM’s intention to reopen in Mississippi comes after Boyd Gaming also set out plans to recommence casino activities in the state. Boyd is hoping to reopen its IP Casino Resort Spa and Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Mississippi on May 21.
Boyd is also seeking to reopen several locations in Louisiana over the next week after the state’s Governor, John Bel Edwards, lifted a certain restrictions related to coronavirus, including allowing casinos to recommence activities.
Caesars Entertainment also set out plans for a phased opening of its locations in Nevada, New Jersey and Iowa, but only when permitted by government or tribal bodies.