Add Rhode Island to this list of states closing its casinos again because of the COVID-19 crisis. But Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) on Thursday gave them and other businesses forced to shut down sometime to prepare.
Casinos, gyms, recreational facilities, and, if possible, office spaces are set to lock their doors on or by Nov. 30, and stay that way for at least two weeks. In a press conference Thursday announcing what she called a “pause,” Raimondo said the advanced notice was to give Rhode Islanders “time to prepare.”
The order marks the second time this year Rhode Island’s two casinos, both owned by Bally’s Inc., will close. Back in March, Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel shut down from March 13 to June 8.
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, Rhode Island presently has the seventh-fastest COVID-19 spread rate in the nation. Its reproduction rate is tied with Pennsylvania at 1.23, meaning that more than one person acquires the virus from every actively infectious individual in the state.
At 4,203 cases per 100,000 people, the state has the 18th-largest caseload tied to per capita population.
Bally’s Respects Decision
In a statement to Casino.org, Marc Crisafulli, Bally’s executive vice president and the president of Twin River and Tiverton casinos, said the company respects the governor’s decision and “the guidance and science” behind it.
“As we said at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the continued health and safety of Rhode Islanders must take priority,” he said.
While almost all of the Bally’s casinos’ salaried and hourly workers will be furloughed, Crisafulli said their jobs “will be guaranteed” when the properties can reopen.
Both casinos will close at 10 pm ET on Nov. 29 to adhere to Raimondo’s order, he added. Bally’s hopes the state is able to contain the spread sufficiently enough that it allows them to reopen two weeks later.
Rhode Island Third State to Close Casinos
At the end of the month, Rhode Island will join Illinois and Michigan in requiring its state-licensed casinos to shut down because of a COVID flareup. In Philadelphia, the Rivers Casino in the Pennsylvania metropolis closed on Friday after a city order.
While other states have not ordered shutdowns, they have requested the venues to take other steps to help fight the increasing spread of the virus. Casinos in New York and Ohio have adjusted their operating hours to accommodate for the 10 pm curfew in both states.
While Indiana did not require casinos to change their hours of operation, casinos have been ordered to have their patrons keep their masks on at all times while on the gaming floor. That means casinos have designated places off the floor for smoking, drinking, and eating.
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