It is important for all businesses, including casinos, to follow COVID-19 safety measures and protocols. The commercial casinos in Detroit just opened a short time ago and are subject to lower capacity levels as well as meeting protocols set forth by the state to protect consumers and employees. In Michigan, the case count of COVID-19 is increasing, which has led officials to worry about an outbreak. Because of this increase in cases, the state is shutting down the casinos for three weeks. This will cause further damage to the industry as the casinos are already behind on revenue numbers due to the first closure.
New Shutdown in Michigan
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the shutdown on Sunday. The closure is part of an effort to lower the case count in the state as a whole. Through this past Saturday, the state reported over 251,000 cases. Over 98,000 of those cases were reported from October 15. Just under 8,000 deaths have been recorded and of that number, 959 occurred during the past month.
Governor Whitmer said that if the state does not act now, thousands more people will die. The hospitals in Michigan continue to be overwhelmed as the case count grows. The Governor announced that residents can get through this by taking action now to slow the spread of the virus.
The new order was issued by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The department has revealed that they feel the increase in positive cases is due to indoor social gatherings. Entertainment and recreational facilities, like casinos, are being shut down to slow how the virus is spread and hopefully cut down the number of cases over the next few weeks.
Can Michigan Casinos Afford the Closure?
The order to close the casinos is the first to affect the venues since they first shutdown in March. When the casinos reopened, they operated based on certain protocols set by the state as well as those they created themselves.
The casinos did not reopen until early August, making them some of the last to start back up in the US after the initial shut down. The casinos are subject to 15% capacity, which is much lower than the 25% and 50% that other casinos are offering.
It is unclear as to how the casinos are going to react to the closure. Employees may be furloughed, or they may be kept on payroll. The order right now will last through December 8. It could be extended or revised at that time. If the order is revised and the casinos remain closed, we could potentially see several layoffs take place as the casinos try to stay afloat.
Across the US, more stay at home orders are being put into place due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases. People seem to be going through what is being called coronavirus fatigue and becoming more lax when it comes to get togethers and wearing masks. Hopefully, Michigan will see a lower case count and the casinos will be up and running again in the next few weeks.