Mississippi Lifting All Restrictions on Casinos, Including Face Masks
Mississippi casinos, beginning tomorrow, April 30 at 5 pm local time, will no longer be subject to any state-ordered COVID-19 operating restrictions.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) announced today that the 26 commercial casinos will be allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity. Face masks will no longer be required for employees or guests.
“All requirements related to COVID-19 that were mandated by the Mississippi Gaming Commission for licensed casino operators will be canceled effective April 30, 2021 at 5:00 pm CST. All licensed operators shall continue to abide by any state and local rules or ordinances pertaining to COVID-19,” a letter from the MGC to licensed casino operators explained.
Casinos in Mississippi have been operating at a maximum 75 percent of their fire code since March 4. Patrons and casino workers have been required to wear face coverings, and slot machines and gaming tables were mandated to undergo cleaning at least once every two hours.
While many other states required indoor smoking to be prohibited during the pandemic, that wasn’t the case in Mississippi. When the casinos were allowed to operate, guests could light up a cigarette or vape while gambling.
Only one commercial casino in Mississippi — Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport — has gone smoke-free voluntarily.
Cleaning Protocols to Remain
Casino operators told the Sun Herald that while COVID-19 regulations are being lifted, the sanitization schedules implemented amid the pandemic will stay in place.
We do that [cleaning] anyway,” explained Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi General Manager Chett Harrison. “Even before COVID, we want it to look crisp and clean every day.”
Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta said recently that business in his casinos is unexpectedly good. He said his resorts are experiencing record numbers, the billionaire citing a substantial pent-up demand for people getting out and finding enjoyment and entertainment after more than a year largely confined to their homes.
Mississippi casinos have been open since May 21, 2020. They were forced to shutter on state orders in March of 2020, soon after the first positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the state.
At the end of last month, Mississippi’s 26 commercial casinos collectively offered 20,210 slot machines and 703 table games. All 26 casinos additionally operate sports betting.
Casino gross gaming revenue in 2020 totaled $1.79 billion last year. That was a nearly 19 percent drop — or $410 million — from the state gaming industry’s 2019 win of $2.2 billion.
According to the latest state health data, only 23.2 percent of adults in Mississippi are fully vaccinated. That ranks third to last in the nation. Only Utah and Alabama have fewer residents receiving both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson.
Maine leads the way in the vaccine race, 38 percent of the state’s adults fully vaccinated. Connecticut is a close second at 37.2 percent, and Vermont third at 36.3 percent.
The post Mississippi Lifting All Restrictions on Casinos, Including Face Masks appeared first on Casino.org.