Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive order limiting public gatherings to 250 people in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus does not apply to the state’s casinos, which operate on sovereign tribal lands. And while the gaming operations at both casinos remain open to the public, a number of events at these sites have either been postponed or canceled.
The Mashantucket Pequots’ Foxwoods announced the postponement of the Eastern CT Home Show scheduled for today and tomorrow until September. Several events have been canceled including the Straight Up With Stassi performance scheduled for tonight, the Foxwoods Annual Shamrocked Pub Crawl on March 15, the Patriots Cheerleaders Final Auditions on March 21 and the Bottomless Party Brunch for April 4. All bus transportation to and from Foxwoods Resort Casino has been indefinitely suspended.
Foxwoods stated it has installed more than 330 hand sanitizing stations and sanitizing wipes throughout the complex and creating what it described as “a core cleaning team dedicated to increasing the frequency of disinfecting slot machines, door handles, table games, escalator rails, table tops, chairs, and other high-volume touch points.” Foxwoods added that it has posted new signs to remind employees to frequently wash their hands.
Mohegan Sun, owned and operated by the Mohegan tribal nation, has announced the rescheduling of several events including March 14 show by Cedric the Entertainer and the March 20 show by Adam Sandler, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s autograph signing appearance on April 4, a pair of New England Black Wolves lacrosse games and the Hemp World Expo and CT Gamer Con happenings. Canceled events include this weekend’s Southern New England RV & Camping Show and the March 21-22 CIAC High School Basketball Finals.
The mixed martial arts Bellator 241 will be presented this evening at Mohegan Sun, but without an audience. Bellator President Scott Coker wrote on Twitter: “The health and safety of our athletes, fans and staff are our number one priority and we will continue to monitor all information surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The Mohegan Sun website stated that an increased number of hand sanitizers were installed on the property – although it did not give a specific number – and cleaning and disinfection efforts “using medical grade, hospital strength products” are taking place throughout the day.
As for the rival casinos across the state borders, MGM Resorts International’s Empire City Casino reported 69-year-old John Brennan, a longtime trainer at the complex’s Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York director representing horsemen at the venue, passed away at his New Jersey home on March 10 after testing positive for COVID-19. Other raceway employees that may have been in contact with Brennan are self-quarantining and monitoring their health. The raceway is closed through March 18 but the casino remains open.
In Massachusetts, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston are also open, albeit with increased disinfection efforts. Encore Boston went one step further with a new policy of checking guest and staff member temperatures before they enter the casino.