It seems that most casinos in the United States are struggling as they try to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Casinos shut down back in March and have been struggling to stay afloat as they await reopening. Many operators have gotten back to work but it has resulted in layoffs and plenty of other issues. Some casinos are dealing with viruses among employees while others are not drumming up enough business to continue to carry their current employee numbers.
In Pennsylvania, employees have said that they expect big layoffs at the Valley Forge Casino. PlayPennsylvania was able to speak with an official of the parent company to find out what exactly is going on.
Boyd Gaming Vice President of Corporate Communications David Strow spoke with the news outlet, stating that ongoing challenges and uncertainty have led the company to move forward with permanent layoffs regarding team members who are on furlough. The company has only called back so many employees due to capacity percentages. The casinos can only offer so many services, so the full work force is not needed.
According to Strow, the layoffs at the at the lower end of the range that is outlined in the WARN Act letters that were issued in May. The company is notifying employees as quickly as possible if they affected by the layoff.
Strow stated further that it is an extremely difficult decision and one that they hoped would not become necessary. They are providing financial assistance to those who are affected by the impending layoffs.
A Rough Re-Start
The Valley Forge Casino closed on March 12, the first to do so in the state. The casino is located in a region that was heavily hit by the virus. They stayed closed and did not reopen until June 26. In May, the casino decided to lay off 539 employees. These layoffs became effective July 1 and was expected to be a temporary decision.
Like many others, the Valley Forge cannot seem to move forward after reopening. They are facing certain restrictions as of now, including the lower capacity limit. Visitation levels are low, well under the levels from a pre-pandemic time frame. The company has to make tough decisions like the layoffs in order to ensure that they can continue to operate due to the restrictions they are currently facing and avoid another closure.
Currently, the casino is open from 10 am to 2am from Sunday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the venue is open from 10 am to 3am.
The next few months are going to be difficult still as the nation is facing an uptick in coronavirus cases across the board. As other states become heavily affected, Pennsylvania can expect less out of state visitors.
The virus is showing no signs of slowing down and as it stands now, it could be next year or even longer before casinos are able to open back up at 100% capacity and offer quality options for guests.