Greater Boston Casino Closes Hotel in Response to New Covid-19 Restrictions

Encore Boston Harbor, Wynn Resorts’ $2.6 billion casino resort that opened doors in the summer of 2019 near Boston, has closed its hotel amid a new wave of immediate restrictions on non-essential businesses as Massachusetts fights to control an uptick in new Covid-19 cases.

In a note emailed to employees on Monday, Encore President Brian Gullbrants said that the hotel would close with immediate effect and that the resort would operate with reduced hours as of Friday.

Under normal circumstances, Encore’s casino floor is open 24 hours a day. However, it will be welcoming patrons from 9 am to 9 pm on Saturday and Sunday and from noon to 9 pm Monday through Friday starting this coming Friday. Without an all-night gaming operation, Encore has decided to shut its hotel service through at least December 15.

Mr. Gullbrants said in his email to staff that the changes reflect their “initial assessment of business needs” and that they will continue to “adjust and refine” to meet guest demand.

Encore’s parent company lost more than $637 million during the second quarter of the year when its US properties were closed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Encore itself lost $99.4 million during that period.

Will Encore Lay Off More Staff?

Encore did not specify whether the closure of its hotel would affect staff numbers. The property laid off just under 400 staff members in August who had been on furlough for months. At that time, about 2,700 people had retained and returned to their jobs, while 915 employees remained on furlough.

Encore and Massachusetts’ other casinos closed doors in mid-March and remained shuttered for four months as part of the state’s efforts to abort the spread of the coronavirus. It was just recently when Encore was given the green light to bring back table games such as craps and roulette. Yet the property’s casino still operates with a reduced range of games.

It should also be noted that the resort’s hotel had already been operating at reduced capacity even before the new slate of restrictions announced by state lawmakers. When Encore resumed operations in July, its 671 rooms were only available four days a week.

As part of Massachusetts’ new wave of measures, the state’s restaurants must end table service by 9:30 pm every day. Other facilities such as theaters, gyms as well as casinos will also be required to close at the same time.

Aside from Encore, Massachusetts has two more commercial gambling venues – MGM Springfield in downtown Springfield and the slots-only Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville.

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