Casino Shutdown Across the US due to COVID-19
An increase in COVID-19 cases across the United States have resulted in several casino closures.
Over the past few days, several changes have been made in the casino industry across the United States. Citizens are not taking precautionary measures such as wearing masks and social distancing, so the nation has seen an increase in positive cases. Because of this increase, several states have issued new stay at home orders which has resulted in casinos shutting down. From New Mexico to Pennsylvania, such closures are taking place across the country as the US continues to struggle with getting a handle on the virus.
New Mexico the Latest Casualty
One of the latest states to issue new restrictions due to an increase in cases is New Mexico. Starting on Monday, all non-essential businesses in the state are closing down for two weeks. Residents are being asked to stay home so that the spread of the virus can slow down.
In New Mexico, there are 26 tribal casinos. These venues operate as sovereign nations, so the tribes do not have to comply with the state order. The responses from the tribes have been varied. We do know that the Pueblo of Pojoaque closed two casinos in Santa Fe starting last Friday as a precautionary measure. The Cities of Gold Casino and Buffalo Thunder Casino are both shut down for at least two weeks.
The four casinos operated by the Navajo Nation have been closed since March and will remain closed. A stay at home order has been reissued and the casinos will remain closed as the health of Navajo people outweighs the need to generate revenues.
Philadelphia Restrictions Shut Down Rivers Casino
Move over to the East Coast and changes are taking place in Pennsylvania. The Rivers Casino Philadelphia is closing on November 20 and will not reopen again until January 1. This is due to new restrictions set by the city as coronavirus cases are on the rise.
With the new restrictions set for the Safter at Home order, casinos are shut down as they fall into the category of activities and businesses that are not allowed. The casino is the only one in the city limits of Philadelphia, so right now, it is the only one affected by the order.
In the city, the average number of coronavirus cases have increased by 700% or more in under two months. The average number of new cases now per day (as of last week) was higher than the daily totals from the worst week of cases back in April.
So far, other casinos in the state are still open. However, they may close too is restrictions in their area are upgraded. The Harrah’s Philadelphia, Valley Forge Casino and the Parx Casino are all located near the city of Philadelphia. If the case count stretches farther out, these venues could shut down as well.
Will A Full US Shutdown Take Place?
With so many states changing their stay at home orders and casinos shutting down, will a full US shutdown be imminent? The hope is that casinos will remain in operation in some form or fashion. In March, when the complete shutdown took place, tens of thousands of employees were laid off or furloughed. Casinos tried to keep employees on payroll, but for some, that was not possible.
Over the past few months, as casinos have reopened, some employees are still not working. Casinos have spent a great deal of time and effort to provide safety precautions and implement certain protocols so they can offer services in a safe and healthy manner. This has also been hard as the casinos did not have money coming in when they were making the changes, such as adding Plexiglass barriers, purchasing masks and other personal protective gear.
We shall see in the coming weeks if more casinos shut down. It is expected that additional closures will take place, even in the short term, as case counts continue to rise in the country.