COVID-19 outbreak forces Massachusetts governor to scale back business hours, casinos included Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · November 2, 2020 at 4:20 pm Massachusetts governor announced Monday a new COVID-19 stay-at-home advisory for residents which will require the state’s three casinos to close between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. The move is an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has surged recently in the state. Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Resorts International’s MGM Springfield, and Penn National Gaming’s Plainridge Park will be impacted by the curfews, which goes into effect Friday. In the executive order signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, people over the age of 5 will be required to wear face coverings or masks in public spaces. Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli said some casino operators have mask policies within their facilities. However, “this is not the case across the board and as such, the change in regulations will require masks to be worn in casinos.” “In and of itself, we don’t see the shortened hours hampering demand tremendously during the mid-week, but we imagine weekend play levels could be impacted by the earlier closures, especially considering the lack of alternative entertainment offerings that were previously available,” Santarelli said in a note to investors. “Further, we believe the shift in policy is likely to heighten investor awareness around the potential for further scaling back of operations in regional markets,” he said. “At present, we see areas of risk for further restrictions in several Midwest markets which have experienced considerable spread.” The governor’s announcement comes after the ninth consecutive day of new COVID-19 cases exceeding 1,000 per day and as Massachusetts appears headed for a dreaded and long-predicted second surge. On Sunday, the number of virus-related deaths surpassed 10,000. “We will comply with the governor’s new directive regarding hours of operation,” Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver said in an email Monday. He said Encore Boston Harbor has “required masks since reopening and will, of course, continue to do so.” A spokesperson for MGM Springfield said in an emailed statement the property would comply with the 9:30 p.m. closure starting Friday. “We are evaluating the impacts on operations. We are in this together and remain committed to the health and safety of our guests, employees and the overall wellbeing of the state,” according to the spokesperson, who added MGM Resorts “requires masks for all guests and visitors in public spaces at all properties nationwide.” More than two-thirds of Massachusetts residents live in communities considered high-risk for community spread, according to the state’s list that last week rated 121 cities and towns at the highest risk level. On Monday, 15 communities were forced to move back to the first step of phase 3 reopening. The Baker administration had so far resisted calls from public health officials to roll back the reopening, even as health metrics indicate community spread is on the rise. “The simple truth is this — too many of us have become complacent in our daily lives,” Baker said. “If we do nothing … we’ll create capacity problems for our health care system by the end of the year,” he continued. (The Boston Herald contributed) Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.