ncore Boston Harbor, Wynn Resorts’ casino in Everett, opened its doors Sunday as part of the state’s Phase 3 plan that began last Monday.
Encore’s return, part of Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, came after careful consideration from casino administrators and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which set minimum standards for Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park, from the dimensions of plexiglass dividers between slot machines to where and when guests can have a drink.
The Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville opened Wednesday; MGM Springfield is opening its casino Monday, though its hotel will remain closed.
The Encore resort, which had about 4,200 employees in March, closed its doors but kept paying employees through the end of May, said Eric Kraus, Encore’s head of public affairs, as reported by Boston Globe. They furloughed about 11 percent of them at the beginning of June and another 3,000 at the start of July, before their reopening date was announced.
When the state gave the green light to the casino floor’s reopening, Encore brought back 1,700 employees. Every employee back at work has been tested for the coronavirus in the past week, Kraus said. They, like guests, have to have their temperatures taken when they come in, and anyone with a fever higher than 100.4 degrees will be sent home.
Though most people coming in Sunday brought their own protective face coverings, Kraus said staff have disposable paper masks on hand to give patrons who came without. Anyone not willing to wear a face covering will be asked to leave, he said. Encore was able to learn from other casinos operated by its parent company, Wynn Resorts, in Macau and Las Vegas, Kraus said.
As guests left the parking lot Sunday morning to enter the casino, they saw a large sign by the elevators to the casino floor reminding them not to enter if they feel sick or have recently come into contact with someone who had contracted the virus. Staff checking IDs at the entrance asked them to briefly lower their face masks and scanned them for high fevers. There were the newly installed plexiglass barriers between video slot machines and similar barriers keeping dealers and gamblers separated at tables.
Poker, roulette and craps are not available yet, and gamblers at table games are not touching the cards. The Center Bar and nightclub remain closed, under state orders, and so is the spa. Gamblers can drink while seated at their machines but have to finish or throw away their drinks and put their masks back on when they move around the floor. Eating is allowed only in designated areas, and guests have to use their phones to pull up a menu and order.
Both Encore and MGM will be conducting temperature scans, though MGM will only check employees while Encore will also check visitors. MGM and Plainridge are keeping many of their dining areas closed, and Plainridge is only offering beer for alcoholic drinks.