enn National Gaming is planning a “very small number of layoffs” at the Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway racino, in addition to more than 300 layoffs planned at its Columbus and Toledo casinos, the company said Tuesday. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave casinos and racinos in Ohio permission to reopen starting June 19, and Hollywood Casino Columbus and Toledo announced they will reopen Friday.
A Penn spokesman could not say how many Dayton layoffs are planned or when they will begin. Eric Schippers, Penn’s senior vice president of public affairs and government relations, told Dayton Daily News that Penn was forced to furlough 26,000 employees in April, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Penn’s Hollywood casinos in Columbus and Toledo are planning to lay off a total of 304 workers, a human resources manager notified Ohio state government in a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice) letter. Hollywood Casino Columbus will permanently lay off 188 people beginning Aug. 15, the manager said in the June 12 letter. A similar letter had the same message regarding Hollywood Casino Toledo, where 116 employees will be laid off permanently starting Aug. 15. The layoffs will be permanent, but the facilities will remain open, Penn said.
“We were hopeful that we’d be able to call the employees back within a couple of months,” Schippers told that newspaper. “However, while we have been able to reopen some of our properties on a limited basis, the continued social distancing requirements and uncertain business volumes means our properties will not be able to resume normal operations for the foreseeable future.”
The Penn properties that stay open will not require the same level of staffing going forward, Schippers said. He added that Penn will extend employees’ medical and pharmacy benefits coverage through July 31. And he said Penn’s “emergency relief fund” is also available to assist them.
Ohio casinos and racinos are permitted to reopen at 6 a.m. Friday, but under new safety restrictions. Permitted capacity will be halved at the Dayton Raceway racino off Wagner Ford Road. Floor decals will mark out “social distances.” Slot machines will be spaced out. Guests will be “encouraged” to wear masks. There will be no live music, and the skybox at the Dayton Raceway will be closed. Valet parking and coat checks won’t be happening, either, at least for now. Buffets are allowed if employees are serving customers from the buffet.
The Columbus casino will limit its gaming floor capacity to no more than 50 percent of its maximum capacity. There will be floor decals and signs to remind guests to social distance, and table game seating will be limited and slot machines will be arranged to meet social distancing requirements.
Employees and vendors will be required to wear masks and will undergo a health screening each day prior to their shifts, including temperature checks. Guests who are playing table games will be required to wear masks. Patrons will also go through a health screening before entering the casino and are encouraged to wear masks.