Connecticut casinos to reopen to public Monday; Governor calls it ‘risky’


MASHANTUCKET/UNCASVILLE, Conn. (WPRI) — Casinos in Connecticut will open to the public Monday, much to the dismay of Gov. Ned Lamont, who has called the reopening “risky.”

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun sit on sovereign land, owned by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, so they are not subject to the Connecticut governor’s executive orders.

Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods had soft re-openings over the weekend for VIP guests — after previously allowing Lamont’s team to tour the casinos and review conditions.

Foxwoods Resort Casino Safety Plan » |Mohegan Sun Guest And Team Member Safety Guide »

Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun will be catering to Connecticut and Rhode Island residents only.

Some of the safety measures in place at both casinos include temperature-screening people before they enter the casinos.

Foxwoods says if you have a temperature of over 100.4 degrees, you will not be allowed inside. Mohegan Sun says any person with a temperature reading higher than 99.9 degrees will be re-tested to confirm. If the reading is still high, guests will be asked to return when they feel healthy and will be reminded to follow up with their health care provider.

Masks will be mandatory for all guests and team members, according to safety plans for both casinos. Mohegan Sun notes all team members are asked to wear masks and gloves in “approved areas.”

Patrons can expect only some slot machines to be operational in order to keep social distancing measures in effect — both casinos have said at least six feet between guests must be maintained. Currently, only Foxwoods is setting a guest limit to 25% of its capacity.

Extensive, regular cleaning will be done at both casinos. Ongoing disinfection of all common surfaces will be performed at short intervals, and the replacement of dice, tiles, and cards in use at table games and sanitizer stations will be available throughout both facilities.

Connecticut’s governor says if casinos insist on opening Monday, even more could be done. He’s also urging casinos not to serve alcohol just yet.

“I look at California, I see the tribes there voluntarily said, we’re not going to serve alcohol, alcohol is not great for social distancing, you’re taking off your mask,” Lamont said, “I thought that was a really important voluntary effort they made there.”

James Gessner, chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, said in a statement last week:

“As we developed our new guidelines for reopening which expanded on the rigorous safety policies already in place at Mohegan Sun, the safety of these team members, neighbors, partners and friends were at the forefront of each decision we made. We have spent the past 10 weeks putting extraordinary measures in place including cutting edge technology to protect the safety and health of all individuals who walk through the doors of Mohegan Sun as well as to ensure the safety of our community as a whole. The new guidelines, which were shared with state officials weeks ago, are based off recommendations from experts nationally and around the globe and have been implemented at several of our other resort destinations across the country – some of which are now opened or will be later this month. As we enter our ‘new normal’ we are excited to welcome back our team members who are an extension of our Mohegan family and to once again begin working with many of our local partners and businesses to help stimulate the Connecticut economy.”

Both casinos say team members at each property will receive training on infectious disease, safety and sanitation protocols — with a heavy focus on COVID-19 — to further ensure guest and team member safety. More comprehensive training will be provided for team members with frequent guest contact, including housekeeping, food and beverage, environmental services, hotel operations, gaming, retail, entertainment and security.

In Rhode Island, Twin River will open its casinos next Monday, but they will be invitation-only to reward members. The Rhode Island casinos released extensive health guidelines last week, which includes capacity limits and requirements to wear masks.

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