Casinos in Michigan will be forced to close again this week as part of new novel coronavirus (covid-19) measures implemented by by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Announced yesterday (November 15) by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Executive Order is aimed at limiting residential and non-residential gatherings and covers a range of facilities.
The order will see casinos close at 12:01am on November 18 and not reopen until 11:59pm on December 8 at the earliest.
Aside from casinos, this will also apply to other recreational facilities including amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, night clubs, skating rinks and water parks.
Entertainment venues such as auditoriums, arenas, cinemas, conference centres, concert halls, sporting venues, stadiums and theatres will also have to close until the second week of December.
The order comes after Michigan in recent weeks has seen a significant increase in the number of positive Covid-19 tests and related deaths. The state’s latest figures, from November 14, showed 7,430 new positive tests and 68 deaths.
“Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing.” Whitmer said. If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed.
“We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”
MDHHS director Robert Gordon added: “Indoor gatherings are the greatest source of spread, and sharply limiting them is our focus. The order is targeted and temporary, but a terrible loss of life will be forever unless we act.
“By coming together today, we can save thousands of lives.”
This marks the second time that Michigan casinos will have to temporarily close due to Covid-19, with operators having first closed their doors back on March 16. Casinos were permitted to reopen from August 5 with strict health and safety measures in place, including being limited to 15% of their legal capacity.
Last week, the Michigan Gaming Control Board announced that Detroit’s three commercial casinos reported $101.4m in revenue for October, including $7.6m from sports betting.
The Control Board also approved the extension of casino licenses for the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino.
The board voted 3-0 in favour of the approvals, with one member absent from the vote, meaning the three properties will be able to operate their commercial casinos for at least the next 12 months.