Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted in approval of removing COVID-19 restrictions for the Encore Boston Harbor, Plainridge Park, and MGM Springfield. The casinos reopened in July 2020 after the first shutdown when COVID began and have been operating at a lower capacity with restrictions in place. Beginning this Saturday, employees and patrons that are vaccinated may visit the casinos without a mask.
The three casinos have been allowed to make big changes regarding COVID-19 restrictions. Social distancing measures can be removed at table games and slots. This means that operators can now remove the plexiglass barriers that were put up to keep players separated from each other. Players can also congregate around games like they would in the past.
Bar seating is allowed to resume, so players can have a drink at the bar while visiting. Those who are vaccinated are free to eat and drink while walking about as well. This was an activity that visitors were used to but one that was suspended due to the threat of COVID-19 exposure.
The casinos will rely on the honor system when it comes to whether or not a visitor has been vaccinated. Anyone who is not vaccinated is asked to please wear a face covering to avoid spreading the virus. Employees of the MGM and Encore properties will be tracked so that the employer knows who has been vaccinated and who has not. For Plainridge Park, the venue plans to use the honor system for employees.
The casinos of Massachusetts are excited to get back to normal after more than a year of operating based on the restrictions. However, the properties will have to look for employees to cover the new needs of the facilities. The hiring process may prove difficult as some former employees have sought work elsewhere due to being laid off amidst the shutdowns.
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