Confusion Surrounds Detroit Casino Reopening Protocols, Capacity Limit Vague
Detroit casinos can reopen as of today with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) blessing, but there remains some confusion surrounding each gaming floor’s capacity limit.
Last week, Whitmer announced that the three-week shutdown of the three casinos would end effective Monday, December 21.
“Casinos, bowling centers, and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen with total capacity capped at 100,” the governor’s press release stated. However, the COVID-19 order said other venues may be permitted to have additional people.
“For all venues, no more than 100 persons may be gathered within any distinct space within the venue, except at stadiums and arenas hosting sporting events, in which case up to 250 persons may be gathered,” the order reads.
MGM Grand Detroit is planning to open on Wednesday at 5 pm. Slot machines and its BetMGM sportsbook will be available at that time. Table games will resume at 8 am Saturday.
MotorCity will restart full casino operations at 1 pm on Wednesday. That includes its FanDuel sportsbook. Greektown has not yet announced when it will unlock its doors.
Casino.org reached out to the governor’s office, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) for clarification on how many people each casino is allowed to have indoors. The 100-person capacity limit suggested in Whitmer’s press release would seemingly render gaming operations impractical.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board will issue reopening guidelines consistent with the MDHHS order,” said a brief statement from the MGCB to Casino.org.
As of this morning, no such guidelines have been made public by the gaming regulator.
MGM Grand told The Detroit News that the casino expects to be allowed to have more than 100 people in each space.
“Our team is prepared to welcome back just as many guests on our casino floor as we had prior to our closing in November, socially distanced across our 150,000+ sq. ft. casino floor,” said MGM Resorts International Midwest President David Tsai.
Greektown explained that it’s working with state agencies and local officials to develop its reopening plan.
“As we prepare for our reopening, we ask that you remain patient while we continue to work with the Michigan Gaming Control Board, public health officials, and state and local leaders. We look forward to opening a safe gaming environment for you soon,” Greektown revealed in a tweet.
Whitmer’s revised coronavirus order runs through January 15. At that time, the governor says she will consider further loosening of restrictions, but only if three key metrics are again met.
The first-term governor says the state will use three “Key Metrics for Safe Restart.” The metrics are “share of hospital beds with COVID-19 patients,” “COVID-19 case rates,” and “percent positivity.” All three showed declines when Whitmer last week opted to allow certain indoor businesses to reopen.
“Michiganders did what they were supposed to do over the Thanksgiving holiday, and we avoided the surge so many other states are seeing,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive of the MDHHS.
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