Massachusetts Casinos to Remain at Lower Capacity due to COVID-19

Just a few days ago, Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts announced that the restrictions put in place on December 26 regarding businesses and COVID-19 will remain in effect for two more weeks. Casinos along with many other businesses must continue to operate at 25% capacity through January 24, as positive cases of the coronavirus are still a problem in the state.

Slowing COVID-19

The goal of the 25% capacity limit is to slow the spread of the virus. The virus is highly contagious and requires everyone to wear masks and social distance when around other people. If the casinos and other businesses were operating at full capacity or even a larger capacity, the virus would have the opportunity to spread at a more rapid rate as well as affect more people.

According to Governor Baker, the number of positive cases and hospitalizations continue to increase. The temporary restrictions were increased so that activity and mobility will remain at a low rate. While the capacity remains at 25%, the number of people who can gather together indoors is 10 and outside is 25.

Staff members do not count towards the capacity rate, so this does help the venues to be able to offer more spots to guests. The governor pointed out that he understands how the limits are affecting businesses, especially those that fit into the small business category.

For now, the governor will wait two weeks and then decide to revisit the limits. If he feels that the restrictions can be lifted even somewhat, then he will make changes. Baker said that everyone needs to ‘stay in this game a little longer’.

Will It Help?

Is the lower capacity rates the right thing to do? Will it really help slow the spread of the virus? There really is no straight forward answer. Right now, it seems people in every state are just doing what they want to. You have those who wear masks all the time and barely go anywhere. You have others that are out and about freely and wear masks. Then of course, you have the people who go everywhere and do not wear a mask.

The issue with the COVID-19 virus is that someone could have it and be unaware due to zero symptoms. This person will then infect countless others due to spreading germs while out and about. If mask wearing is utilized along with social distancing, then the spread is lessened.

Many casino operators argue that as long as they ensure customers are wearing masks and practicing social distancing, then they should be allowed to host more guests. Casinos have spent a ton of money to provide barriers between players as well as between employee and player. They offer masks, hand sanitizer and other forms of protection for everyone on-site.

Casinos across the United States have suffered greatly, like other businesses, due to closures and reduced capacity rates. The hope was that once the vaccinations were released, then things would get to normal, however, that is not the case in the US.

Vaccinations are taking place at a slow pace and people are still testing positive for the virus, being hospitalized and dying. Until a change is seen in the rate of infection in states across the nation, governors like Baker will continue to have restrictions in place to protect players and employees of casinos.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.