Issued on 5/1 as discussed during remote public meeting
A Message from Chair Cathy Judd-Stein:
In keeping with the latest mandate issued by the state, the Commission voted unanimously 5-0 via roll call to extend temporary closures of the state’s three casino properties until May 18. Operational status will be reviewed prior to May 18 as we continue to follow the orders issued by the Baker-Polito Administration.
When we first decided to temporarily suspend operations at the state’s three gaming facilities, the Commission and our licensees held a shared view that public health was paramount to all other considerations. At the time, the urgent circumstances required us to move quickly and decisively.
The timeline to reopen is still uncertain; however, our attention is now focused on developing a responsible restart plan and maximizing this time to establish guidelines, in coordination and collaboration with key stakeholders, including the three licensees, state and local leaders, and public health officials. We will leverage our internal expertise and lessons learned from other jurisdictions. Additionally, we will closely monitor guidance under development by the Governor’s Reopening Advisory Board.
Our shared priority of public health remains paramount in our decision-making as we determine how best to proceed in a post-pandemic environment.
To support the work already in progress under the leadership of Interim Executive Director Wells, an internal Restart Working Group will be convened. This group will assist in the development of the work plan and identify early on issues for the Commission’s consideration to facilitate agile action by on key policy and regulatory matters.
This task force will also assist with oversight and planning for two primary areas identified as core to a safe and sustainable reopening plan:
1) Technical Opening
Technical Opening Protocols & Procedures will consist of an assessment of the regulatory process required to bring casinos back online, including an extensive operations checklist that ensures the necessary compliance and integrity standards.
2) Health & Safety
Health & Safety Operational Planning will address a comprehensive opening strategy regarding measures necessary to prioritize the well-being of casino guests and employees. Topics will include, but not be limited to, enhanced sanitation procedures, employee training, physical distancing, occupancy limitations and any other guidance provided by public health authorities.
The plan will also need to account for what procedures will be necessary in the event of a restart setback.
In addition, the MGC team will be developing in parallel the protocols and procedures for the reopening of the MGC Office to ensure a safe return to the office for MGC employees.
In terms of timing, the MGC will continue to follow the state’s lead and abide by all mandates. A status update will be provided at next week’s public meeting.
This difficult set of circumstances has presented an unprecedented global challenge. As so many have said, we are all in this together. An effective reopening plan will require sustained cooperation from all involved. Thank you to the MGC team and our licensees for your hard work and thoughtful diligence, despite this intense and challenging situation.