Michigan Casinos to Close Again as Parts of Efforts to Contain COVID-19

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On Sunday, November 15, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced an executive order that outlined a wide-ranging of restrictions should aid in the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19. These sweeping new restrictions will see in-person classes at learning facilities across the state suspended for the next three weeks.

The same applies to other social gatherings including eat-in restaurants, bars, movie theaters, bowling alleys, bingo halls, indoor ice rinks, and, of course, the casinos. Set to take effect on Wednesday, November 18, these new restrictions have also prompted the cancellation of all forms of organized sports and group exercise classes.

COVID-19 has increased rapidly in Michigan in the recent past. The state has recorded over 98,000 new cases since October 15 and in the past month, there have been up to 959 deaths from the virus. Needless to say, something has to be done lest things get worse.

“If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The first wave of closures that began earlier this year dealt a devastating blow to many businesses across the United States and the casino industry was among the biggest casualties. The decision to close Michigan casinos for the next three weeks will impact the industry but we will have to wait and see the extent to which that will happen.

Some Casinos to Remain Open

Despite all of the new restrictions that are in the recently-released executive order, some Michigan casinos have decided to remain open. One of these casinos is The Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant. The tribal casino took to Facebook to announced that its doors will still be open to customers. All safety and health guidelines will remain in place to ensure that no new cases of COVID-19 come from the venue.

Another casino that will remain open is the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi-owned and operated FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek. This venue has also assured its customers that it is committed to ensuring their safety thanks to all of the mitigation steps that they have implemented. These include limited occupancy, the reduction of gaming positions as well as the temporary suspension of valet parking service.

Both venues are tribal casinos and therefore do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order.