The coronavirus has only just entered the United States and it is already impacting the nation in a big way. Colleges are closing along with casinos and other large venues due to the close contact of individuals when inside the premises. Around 1,000 people have tested positive for the virus and the number of those affected seems to be doubling every day. In New York, MGM Resorts International has decided to shut down their Yonkers Raceway in order to clean the facility after an employee passed away due to the coronavirus.
Details of the Closure
The worker affected by the coronavirus was employed by the Standardbred Owners Association. After testing positive for the virus, the employee became very sick and eventually passed away. MGM has now closed the harness track order to ensure no one else is affected by the virus.
Employees who worked in the same area where the affected employee was present have been asked to remain in self-quarantine. According to MGM, the Empire City Casino was not affected and has not closed. The casino is next to the racetrack and reportedly not expected to have an issue with the coronavirus.
A resident of New Jersey, the victim of the coronavirus is John Brennan. Mr. Brennan worked as the Standardbred Owners Association of New York Director as a representative of horsemen at Yonkers. He was the first individual reported testing positive for the coronavirus.
Mr. Brennon worked in the racing office of the facility. This is an area located near the paddock and racetrack. MGM Resorts has tracked his movements and believe that Mr. Brennon was at the facility just over a week ago. They have offered their condolences to the family over his passing.
The racetrack along with MGM will now coordinate with health officials and make decisions based on their guidance. Prevention efforts are being made to ensure no one else onsite is affected by the virus.
Even More Closures
As the coronavirus takes hold across the US, other gaming venues are making changes. It is essential that protocols are in place to provide sanitization of high-touch areas including ATMs and slot machines. With thousands of people on a regular basis using these machines in cities like Las Vegas, cleaning more than ever is a must.
Some companies are cleaning the machines on the hour in the hopes of stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Casinos in Las Vegas has also upped additional cleaning protocols and added hand sanitization stations throughout the property to be able to offer quick hand washing options.
In Las Vegas, MGM Resorts is taking an extra precaution by shutting down the buffets at several properties. The Mirage, MGM Grand, Excalibur, Bellagio, Luxor and the Aria will no longer be offering buffet service until further notice. This is a precautionary measure and not one that health officials recommended.
The company plans on reevaluating the situation every week and make a decision to reopen based on the current status of the coronavirus.
Casinos in Las Vegas as well as around the US are worried about what the coronavirus will do to their bottom line. Players will be less likely to travel due to the virus for fear of catching it in a region where cases have already been reported.
It is expected that the virus will only continue to spread and we will see even more decisions made by big companies, including casino operators as they focus on assisting their customers as well as employees.